Photo courtesy of Paul Kasprizak
Sunday afternoon at two thirty, the Washington County Sheriff’s Office received a call of a bus fire along Highway 41 southbound, just north of County Highway K in the Town of Addison. Deputies and firefighters from the St Lawrence Fire Department were dispatched to the scene. Upon deputies’ arrival found a coach style bus fully engulfed in flames. The bus appears to have caught fire after a rear tire went flat.All of its passengers were safely evacuated; however two passengers were transported by Allenton Rescue to Aurora Medical Center in Hartford for precautionary reasons and were treated and released. The bus from Georgia was transporting two drivers and fifty six passengers from Oshkosh to Atlanta. The passengers, all from England were transported to St Lawrence Fire Department by another bus that had stopped to assist. The Red Cross responded and assisted at St Lawrence Fire Department by supplying food and water until arrangements were made for a charter bus company to transport the stranded passengers to Atlanta, Georgia. The St Lawrence Fire Department with assistance from Allenton Fire Department quickly extinguished the bus fire and a small adjacent grass fire. Traffic along 41 southbound was stopped just north of the fire scene for safety and to assist in the firefighting operations. Northbound Highway 41 was limited to one lane north of Highway K and the stopped traffic between Highway 33 and the fire scene was diverted onto the closed northbound lane of travel. According to Sergeant Nathan Preskie of the sheriff’s office, 41 southbound between Highway 33 and County K was closed for approximately three hours. The bus was completely destroyed as a result of the fire. In addition to the response from St Lawrence Fire, Allenton Fire, and Allenton Rescue, the Wisconsin State Patrol and the Slinger Police Department assisted in controlling traffic. The Washington County Highway Department also assisted in placing signage and safety barrels to help re-route traffic onto highway 41.