Emotional reunions after school bus fire

-service operator at a loss over cause

It was an emotional scene when some of the students from the Cotton Tree Primary who escaped injuries from a burning bus on Thursday evening, arrived home and reunited with their worried parents.

The parents hugged their children and cried and thanked the teachers for bringing them home safely. They did not even care that their children’s bags and other possessions were destroyed in the fire.

The parents, according to Regional Vice-chairman Rion Peters who lives at Cotton Tree, were uneasy after receiving “misinformation” that their children were badly burnt and were at the hospital.

He said he had to calm the parents who were waiting anxiously in groups. He was also in contact with the buses that were transporting them home and kept updating the parents.

The 50 West Berbice students and four teachers narrowly escaped injuries from the burning bus that they had just exited and are still deeply traumatised. They are also afraid to go back on school tours.

They were returning home around 5:45 pm on Thursday evening from a school tour in Georgetown when the incident occurred at Mahaica. They were rescued by other tour buses that were passing at the same time.

The teachers lost their handbags that contained money, cell phones, cameras and other items.


Sources told Stabroek News that smoke was detected coming from the bus before everyone heard a loud “hissing sound.” This created panic among the students and they started to scream.

The driver immediately pulled in the corner and instructed everyone to “get off the bus!” But the door was stuck, creating further terror. The driver continued to “beat the door” until it was opened.

As the students and teachers were trying to escape to safety some fell in the process and suffered bruises. The teachers had even tried to break open the window to get the children out of harm’s way.

They were trying to move the children far away from the bus and when they looked back they saw the big blaze, which caused the terrified students to scream even more.

Reports are that one of the teachers who had inhaled a lot of smoke, like the others, collapsed and had to be taken to the Mahaicony Hospital for treatment.

 Bus service

Contacted, owner of the bus service, Roy Hercules told Stabroek News that he is still wondering what caused the bus to go up in flames.

He had been operating the business for 25 years and “lots of schools use the service. I would not want to send a bus on tours with kids that had a problem.” He said he services his buses often.

Hercules said the only thing he can come up with is that a “rat probably nipped a wire. This can happen to any vehicle.”

He also ruled out that the bus had overheated but noted that the bus was “too badly burnt for me to trace what happened.” The driver related to him that there was no problem with the bus all day.

The businessman said he was “happy that nothing happened to anyone. Put aside the bus, what is important is people’s lives.” He said the driver deserves credit for acting fast and also gave praise to God.

More in Local News


About these comments

The comments section is intended to provide a forum for reasoned and reasonable debate on the newspaper's content and is an extension of the newspaper and what it has become well known for over its history: accuracy, balance and fairness. We reserve the right to edit or delete comments which contain attacks on other users, slander, coarse language and profanity, and gratuitous and incendiary references to race and ethnicity.

Get the day's headlines from SN in your inbox every morning:

Most Read This Week

  1. Ramesh Manbodh

    Man beaten with bat passes away

  2. Bibi Shareema (left) and her mother Bibi Shameela in
happier times

    Greenwich Park woman died 44 days after brutally stabbed by ex-partner

  3. Bharrat Jagdeo

    Meeting of Cabinet at GDF HQ pilloried by Jagdeo

  4. Fast food lovers inside KFC yesterday

    KFC back in business

  5. Ameer Abdool Subrati

    Man dies after bandits target overseas-based couple at Herstelling

  6. The building housing the home and grocery

    Bandits invade Alness businessman’s house, shots fired

  7. Alimudeen Gobin’s demolished house

    Violent storm lashes No. 19 Village

  8. Bharrat Jagdeo

    Crime has never been this bad – Jagdeo

  9. The Stabroek to Sophia route bus number BTT 4213 was hit in the centre after motor car PEE 8062 failed to stop at the intersection of Albert and Regent streets.

    Several hurt after car slams into bus at Regent and Albert

Recommended For You