PORTLAND, OR (CNN) -- A charter bus burst into flames during rush hour sending riders scrambling. The bus was carrying a high school junior varsity football team when it caught fire in Portland, Oregon.
From an ODOT camera along Highway 26 just west of I-405, flames can be seen engulfing this tour bus. On board just moments before was the central catholic high school junior varsity football team.
you can see team members, staff, and the bus driver on the side of the highway waiting for help. Football coach Grant Hampton says, "We got all the kids off the bus and then started trying to get gear off and once the bus got a pop sound, pop fire we just got everyone away."
Portland fire crews arrived within minutes even in rush hour traffic. Once team members were all accounted for, the focus was the flames. The fire chief says the fire started in the engine in the rear of the bus and then quickly spread.
The concern was the water supply or lack thereof. Battalion Chief Scott Beyers says, "A fire on a freeway area is a concern to us because of water supply, fortunately we did have a hydrant located several hundred feet behind us."
The bus company, blue star transportation tells KOIN 6 News by phone the driver is very experienced and the company is cooperating with the investigation.
But at this point it is not known exactly what sparked the fire. Beyers says, "Enroute to the call we could see a large column of smoke coming up from behind the hills so we knew we had a good working fire."
Now in the pouring rain the student athletes, with uniforms and gear saved, are thankful everyone made it out safely but Hampton says, "They're all disappointed that we're not playing the game now. We're gonna get them all back to central, they're all safe."
Being safe and sound is worth more than any touchdown to the coaches and the players.