Metro Transit bus in Kalamazoo catches fire with riders on board

Posted at 5:14 PM, Jan 21, 2015
and last updated 2015-01-21 18:01:22-05

KALAMAZOO, Mich.-- It was a close call for riders after a Metro Transit bus caught fire.

It happened Wednesday at about 7:30 a.m.

Video surveillance from the bus shows smoke filling the backseat.  A woman can be jumping out of her seat, yelling to the bus driver, that it was on fire.

The driver, Guy Stevens, said it was like any other day. That he was cruising along the South Westnedge Avenue route when suddenly the ordinary turned dangerous.

"I saw the fire, called dispatch and let them know what was going on," Stevens said. "I tried putting it out with a small fire extinguisher but it wouldn't work."

It took firefighters more than an hour to smother the flames.

In the end, only the bus was damaged.

Sean McBride, executive director of Metro Transit, said the situation could've been much worse if not for a properly trained driver with more than 20 years experience.

"He did everything perfectly right and very safely," McBride said. "He was very calm. The other thing we have to do is disengage some of the components so they aren't a fire hazard. He did that also."

While the bus may have seen its final route, those who depend on Stevens were able to carry on with their day, thanks to his quick thinking and experience.

"I did what I had to do to get everyone safe and away from that bus."