JELLICO (WATE) – A group of high school students from Lexington, Ky. on a field trip to the Smoky Mountains escaped a bus fire Friday afternoon that tied up traffic on Interstate 75 in Campbell County.
The incident was reported around 5 p.m. on I-75 southbound near mile marker 150.
A representative of Wombles Transportation says a group of students from Sayre High School in Lexington were returning from a field trip in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park when a passenger noticed smoke coming from the back of the bus.
The driver pulled over and tried to extinguish the fire, but with no luck. Passersby also tried to help.
The students said other drivers were trying to get their attention.
“They were basically just pushing us to slow down. There was one jeep that actually got in front of the bus and started slowing down dramatically and was just pointing at the back of the bus,” said student, Chris Muesing.
The Tennessee Highway Patrol reports 33 people were on the bus including the driver. No one was injured. THP says the occupants were able to salvage some luggage before evacuating the bus.
Wombles Transportation is a charter bus company based out of Lexington. Another bus was sent to pick up the students.
The southbound lanes were closed for a time due to the fire.
Northbound traffic was not affected.
The cause of the fire is still not clear, but bus company officials suspect a bad alternator.