GEORGETOWN –– Traffic on the East Bank of Demerara, in the vicinity of Eccles, was brought to a snail’s pace mid-morning yesterday when a minibus spontaneously burst into flames. A police rank on the scene told this publication that he and other ranks were dispatched to the East Bank thoroughfare after a report of a vehicle on fire was made.
“When we arrived here we saw the fire service already doing their thing,” said the rank.
When this publication got to the scene, firemen were still busy dousing the shell of the burnt-out vehicle. It appeared that both water and foam were used to put out the fire.
Kaieteur News was able to ascertain that the Route 45 minibus with registration plates BJJ 1801 was being driven by Wayne Harris, a former national middleweight boxer.
Harris disclosed that the fiery ordeal which started around 10 a.m. lasted approximately 20 minutes. According to him, it started with a loud explosion which he believed came from the engine section of the bus. According to one onlooker at the scene, who seemed to have knowledge of vehicles, the situation could have possibly resulted from an oil leak compounded by the vehicle overheating.
Harris was in the company of the owner of the bus and the owner’s father when the incident occurred. The three, according to Harris, had just left Georgetown and were heading to the Demerara Harbour Bridge in order to make their way to the West Demerara to visit a mechanic. According to Harris, he had reported to the owner of the bus that something was amiss with the vehicle and therefore there was need for it to be examined by a mechanic.
“It [the bus] was kinda stuttering every time it stopped and we were taking it to the mechanic to check it out properly,” Harris recounted.
But it was while en route, the driver recounted hearing the loud explosion which was followed by fire.
“To be honest I just hear bang and I see smoke coming from the bottom and I just stop and we run out. We had to jump out right away because we realize there was fire. But we didn’t realize it was so serious,” Harris recalled. The three men, with the help of residents who recognized their dilemma, started a bucket brigade in an attempt to quell the growing fire.
Despite their efforts, the bus was soon engulfed in flames.
“It got worse and worse; the flames just keep getting higher and higher and before we know it, the bus was a big ball of fire,” Harris recounted.
A fire tender arrived on the scene soon after.
Police ranks on the scene were able to help keep the mid-morning traffic flowing after firemen were able to extinguish the flames and ensure that the area was again safe.