MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — It wasn’t just a traffic accident that disrupted a Megabus trip from Chicago to Minneapolis on Sunday — The bus exploded.
A New York Times travel reporter who was a passenger on the bus caught the fire on video, and live-tweeted much of the aftermath.READ MORE: How Do U Of M-Developed Apple Varieties Get Their Names?
In the video, the bus is engulfed in flames, as it sits on the side of a highway in Waukegan, Illinois. All of the passengers were safe, but we can’t say the same for their belongings.
A student at the University of St. Thomas was on the bus.
“We just heard a big pop, a big bang,” passenger Alexei O’Brien said. “It sounded like the tire, so we thought the tire blew out. So the bus pulled over.”
That was just the beginning of what O’Brien would witness as he headed back to St. Paul after visiting family in Chicago. He says smoke turned to flames, and a small fire became an explosion that gutted the Megabus.
“It was very loud and scared me a lot. I was shaking. When I got home, I was still shaking from that,” he said. “I lost my textbooks, all my notes, my homework, I actually got a brand new suit. Brand new, and my only suit. I lost that in the fire.”
O’Brien says he immediately called his family.READ MORE: Demolition Begins On St. Paul's Midway Shopping Center, Heavily Damaged During Unrest
“They didn’t believe me,” he said. “They were like, ‘Oh, you mean a little fire?’ and I said, ‘No, no, no — it literally blew up, engulfed in flames.”
A second Megabus was brought to carry the passengers on to Milwaukee, and then Minneapolis.
“I started emailing my teachers saying, ‘Hey, I had a little incident. My bus kind of exploded, there was a fire, I lost all the books and homework. I’m wondering if you can help me out with the notes and stuff'” O’Brien said.
He says the staff at St. Thomas is helping him replace his three textbooks with loaners, and with getting notes from fellow students. O’Brien had his laptop, his phone and wallet with him, but others were not as fortunate.
“There was someone on the bus who did lose their laptop, and it was $1,000,” he said. “There was someone who lost their birth certificate and social security card because they were in the process of moving.”
On the Megabus website, under terms and conditions, the company policy on lost and damaged luggage is spelled out. It says there is a maximum liability of 250 dollars, even in the event of negligence on the part of Megabus.MORE NEWS: Cortez Banks Charged In Crystal Knife Attack; Victims Expected To Survive
Local firefighters in Illinois are still investigating what caused the explosion.