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Charter bus catches fire, no one injured

April 27, 2010|By JENNIFER FITCH

NEWVILLE, PA. -- Fire broke out on a motorcoach that left Tuesday morning from Chambersburg, Pa., heavily damaging the bus but not injuring the driver or 45 passengers.

Dale Miller, 61, the driver, pulled over the bus at exit 37 off Interstate 81 in Penn Township, Cumberland County, at about 9:30 a.m. after one of the rear tires blew out, Pennsylvania State Police said in a news release.

Miller then went outside to look at the tire and noticed the bus was on fire. He immediately evacuated the bus, police said.

"We're fortunate no one was injured or killed," said Bob Mock, tour coordinator with Bollman Charter Service in Everett, Pa.

The passengers were taken to a nearby fire station. Bollman sent another bus that Miller used to drive the group to Freedom Chapel Dinner Theatre in Lancaster, Pa.

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Mock said Miller was driving for another bus company until recently. He drives part time for Bollman, and Mock described him as a great driver in all circumstances.

"I understand he went over and beyond to get people off the bus," Mock said, saying the group leader praised Miller and God for the riders' safety.

Miller called headquarters several times and calmly relayed information, Mock said.

Pennsylvania State Police in Carlisle, Pa., said the exit ramp was closed for an hour while the fire was extinguished and the debris cleaned up.

The interior and rear half of the bus were completely burned, police said.

Newville, South Newton, Penn Township and Union fire departments responded, as did the Newville Ambulance Squad and Pennsylvania Department of Transportation, police said.

Other than the bus, the only item lost in the fire was one jacket, Mock said. The dinner theater delayed lunch until the group arrived, he said.

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