• Officials: 4 hurt when charter bus catches fire on I-85 in Rowan Co.

    By: Stephanie Coueignoux


    ROWAN COUNTY, N.C. - Emergency crews told Channel 9 that nobody was seriously hurt after a charter bus caught fire on Interstate 85 early Tuesday morning in Rowan County.

    Traffic was backed up during the morning rush hour after the bus blew a tire and caught fire around 7 a.m. It pulled over on I-85 southbound near mile marker 79, near Spencer.


    Troopers said there were roughly 50 people on board at the time. Four people were taken to the hospital with twisted ankles and leg injuries. One man was burned trying to get off.

    Channel 9 spoke with one passenger who said the driver first told them to stay put, but as soon as he saw the flames he started yelling.

    "Two minutes later, he said, ‘Get off the bus! Get off the bus!’ People were throwing themselves out the window. It was chaos,” she said.

    Passengers were left waiting in the median as officials could arrange alternate transportation, and were eventually taken to Park Plaza Shopping Center in Spencer.

    • PRESS PLAY to watch passenger cellphone video of the fire:

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    Investigators have not said what caused the fire.

    The bus was traveling from Boston to Atlanta.

    Eyewitness News read through documents by the federal motor carrier safety administration.

    Channel 9 learned the company that operates the bus, Yep Tour Incorporated, based out of Massachusetts, has had buses pulled from the road by federal investigators due to public safety hazards 22 times since the start of the year.

    Eyewitness News found dozens of more violations on top of that including defective emergency exits, flat tires and an unsecured fire extinguisher.

    Troopers who inspected the bus in Spencer said it appears to have been  in good working condition before the fire.

    No one was cited.

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