61 escape bus fire near Hoover Dam
KTNV News 13
Some 61 people escaped a California tour bus without injury after a quick moving and destructive fire swept through the bus near the Hoover Dam. The incident happened after 4 p.m. Monday on the Nevada side of the dam. The driver of the Bravo Express bus reportedly noticed smoke as the bus was driving up a steep incline.
A Hoover Dam spokesperson says the driver tried to fight the fire with an extinguisher, but the flames became far too intense.
Dozens of international tourists, a tour guide and the bus driver scrambled to safety before flames engulfed the bus.
Motorists and other visitors on separate tours watched the fiery glow grow in size.
“Every single bit of it, from the front grill to the back grill, was completely up in flames. There were flames underneath it, on top of it and extending probably 15 feet on top of it,” explained David Indech, visiting from Atlanta, GA.
David Indech took photos of the incredible sight. He stood about 150 feet away and did not try to get any closer.
“The only people I was worried about were the police officers that were like 10 or 15 feet from the bus. It was so clear there was so much heat,” added Indech.
Authorities with Nevada Highway Patrol, Boulder City Police and National Park Service Police are now involved in the investigation.
At this point, investigators aren’t speculating where the fire started on the bus or how it ignited. One possibility is that the bus overheated.
“We always talk to folks about safety on these roads. That’s why the speed limits can seem slow, but there are steep curves and cars can overheat,” said Rose Davis, spokesperson with the Hoover Dam.
Rose Davis said the fire also damaged the road. She expected the cleanup to last through Monday night but believes the Hoover Dam will be open as usual by Tuesday morning.
She credits the bus driver’s quick thinking for preventing a worse outcome.
“Any time you have a fire like this on a bus, getting people out in an orderly manner, getting them safe, was a wonderful planning process on the part of the company,” added Davis.
Another bus came to pick up the international visitors several hours after the fire.
Officials haven’t said where they were visiting from or what their itinerary was.