Bus carrying Central Catholic football players catches fire

PORTLAND, Ore. -- A bus full of Central Catholic High School junior varsity football players caught fire during the Thursday afternoon commute on Highway 26.

All of the football players were evacuated from the bus and no injuries were reported. The fire happened near the Jefferson Street on-ramp.

Firefighters received a call just before 5 p.m. that fire was coming from underneath the tour bus. The bus driver evacuated everyone on board.

"(There were) a couple of explosions in the back, fire coming out the sides," said bus driver Jody Fritz. "We pulled over and evacuated everybody. Tried with the fire extinguishers. Not big enough. Called for help."

She said she thought the fire started in the engine compartment.

Firefighters had a difficult time getting to the fire because of rush-hour traffic and also had trouble extinguishing the blaze because of the lack of fire hydrants in the area.

Central Catholic's JV team had a game against Eugene's Sheldon High School at 6:30 p.m. at Hillsboro Stadium. At 5:30 p.m., the team was waiting for another bus to pick them up to head back to Central Catholic. By 6:30, Central Catholic tweeted that the game had been canceled and would be rescheduled as soon as possible.

The cause of the fire has not been determined but firefighters said it did start in the bus' engine compartment.

Traffic on Highway 26 was down to one lane near the fire scene, and drivers encountered long delays and long backups during the evening commute.

Raw video of the bus on fire:

Raw Video:

Viewer video of the fire:

Football Team:

close video ad
Unmutetoggle ad audio on off