Thursday, 4:30 PM
Toll collectors save 24 children from burning school bus
By Yuxing Zheng, Globe Correspondent
Four toll collectors rescued 24 children from a burning school bus today on the Massachusetts Turnpike in West Springfield.
No injuries were reported in what authorities suspect was an electrical fire, said Thomas Farmer, a spokesman with the Massachusetts Turnpike Authority.
The fire occurred as the bus approached the toll plaza from westbound Interstate 90 to southbound Interstate 91, said Francine Dupont, a supervisor at the interchange.
The children, who were about 5- and 6-years-old and from Shrewsbury, were headed to Six Flags New England in Agawam, Mass., when toll collectors noticed smoke billowing from beneath the bus around 10:40 a.m., Dupont said
The four toll collectors helped the driver unbuckle the children from seat belts and got them off the bus. The collectors used fire extinguishers at the plaza to put out the fire before fire fighters arrived, Dupont said. The children were placed on a second school bus that was accompanying them.
Traffic was briefly backed up at the toll plaza, Dupont said.