Rayagada: More than 50 passengers had a close shave after the bus they were travelling in caught fire near Tarini Chowk at Siriguda in Rayagada district late Friday night.
The ill-fated bus was on its way from Kasagumuda in Nabarangpur district to Polasara in Ganjam district. After getting information about the incident, a fire engine from a nearby fire station reached at the spot. But they despite their best efforts could not save the vehicle from being burnt completely.
After the incident, the bus driver, conductor and helper fled from the spot, leaving the passengers to fend for themselves, alleged the passengers.
According to the passengers, it was around 12 midnight. Most of the passengers were dozing off in their seats. It was then some passengers complained about something burning. But the staff of the bus asked them not to panic.
After a while, they spotted smoke inside the bus. Then also, the staff asked them not to worry. After an hour or so, the flame was seen. Then only the staff stopped the bus and asked the passengers to vacate the bus. “The bus staff were not cooperative. Nor did the bus have fire fighting equipments. Had there been a little bit delay, the scene would have been terrible,” some of the passengers alleged.
Most passengers while coming out of the bus could not get enough time to get their luggage with them. So their luggage along with the bus was gutted. Important documents like certificates of some students who were also travelling in the bus were destroyed in the fire.
The police have launched a probe, it was learnt.