A Ridgewood school bus burst into flames shortly after dropping off special needs students at school this morning.
Around 8:35 a.m., students of P.S 239 near Seneca Avenue and Weirfield Street had just exited the bus when crossing guard Stephanie Gale saw fire shoot up from the underside of the vehicle.
“I don’t think the driver drove ten feet,” Gale told Bushwick Daily. “I saw smoke, did a second take, saw flames under the bus and called 911.”
Little Richie Bus Service owned the vehicle, and the company’s fleet of minibuses primarily shuttles special needs students to schools in Brooklyn, Queens, and the Bronx. Since 2015, Little Richie buses have experienced 1,451 breakdowns and delays due to mechanical problems, accidents, problem runs, and “other” according to city data.
The driver escaped the burning bus unharmed. He was visibly shaken up, but declined to make a statement. It was not immediately clear what sparked the fire.
“It was scary for me,” Gale said. “My daughter takes a mini bus for 13 years now.”
Cover image courtesy of Stephanie Gale