LAKE CHARLES, LA (KPLC) - A passenger bus carrying middle school band students from Houston caught fire on top of the I-210 Bridge Sunday morning. The students were returning to Houston after a field trip to Walt Disney World in Florida, where they competed in a band competition.
According to Louisiana State Police, the fire started after a tire blew out, causing the entire bus to shoot up in flames.
There were 32 total passengers, both students and teachers, on the bus. Louisiana State Police said everyone was able to get off the bus safely. The students were taken to the Calcasieu Sheriff's Department until another bus arrived to take them back to Houston.
The Westlake Fire Department extinguished the blaze.
Witnesses on the bridge described hearing loud explosions as the bus, which is registered to Coach USA, caught fire.
"It actually blew up twice," said Paul Burton, an eyewitness traveling behind the bus before it caught fire. "That was when we ran down there to make sure everything was all right."
Northbound traffic was backed up on the bridge for two hours before vehicles were directed to turn around.