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‘The bus caught on fire as it struggled to make it up a hill’: We spoke to the students on the 12X bus

The National Express 12X bus caught fire this morning

A 12X bus caught fire on Warwick Campus this morning, shortly after 9am. We spoke to Warwick University students who were on the "full" National Express 12X bus.

Artem Suraga, a fourth year MORSE student, was making his way into campus for his 9 am lecture.

He said the incident "started with a weird smell and people didn't really understand where that was coming from."

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An eyewitness image of students being evacuated from the bus

He continued: "Then in about 10-15 seconds we could see the smoke coming from the outside part of the bus, from the right side. The driver stopped at exactly the time when the smoke started inside of the bus too. The driver immediately told everyone to evacuate the bus.

"There was no panic and people moved out quickly. I think that when the last people from the second floor were coming down, there was a lot of smoke inside already.

"In two minutes, there was a lot more smoke and in one more minute the fire started at the back of the bus. Five more minutes and there was a lot of fire. I think everyone came out by the time I could see fire coming out of the rear end of the bus."

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While it appears that there was not a huge sense of panic at the time, Suraga did feel "relief that the driver did everything on time and everyone came out without a panic."

Joe Davies, a Warwick student who sat on the top level of the 12X bus, recalled the rear end of the bus catching fire as it struggled to make it up an incline on the way to university.

Another passenger confirmed the bus was "stopping and starting all the way up the hill before it set alight." According to this witness, the bus driver called someone to tell them he needed to let the students off.

Another eye witness who was three cars behind the explosion when it happened, said: "It wasn't a tyre explosion, it looked like the fire started from the engine at the back."

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Several passengers on the service today have told The Warwick Tab that the National Express will take action following today's events.

National Express gave a statement to The Warwick Tab:

"There was a fire on a National Express Coventry double decker bus this morning at Gibbet Hill interchange.

"All our passengers were safely taken off the bus. West Midlands Fire Service and West Midlands Ambulance Service came to the scene and we are very grateful for their help. We will be carrying out a full investigation into what happened.

"National Express Coventry 11 and 12X bus services are being diverted at the moment. We apologise to out customers for the inconvenience caused by this incident."

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