Church school bus with teenagers on board catches fire on I-65

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A church school bus with 18 passengers on board caught fire early Saturday morning on Interstate 65 near the Lowell exit in northwest Indiana. | Indiana State Police

(Sun-Times Media Wire) - None were injured when a church school bus with teenagers and a pair of chaperones on board caught fire early Saturday morning on Interstate 65 in northwest Indiana.

The bus caught fire on southbound I-65 approximately three miles north of the Lowell exit at 12:54 a.m. when it had a tire failure, according to Indiana State Police. The bus, owned by Herscher Christian Church in Herscher, Illinois, had sparks coming from the rear right tire, its driver said.

As the driver pulled the bus over to the right shoulder, the rear right tire caught fire, police said. Sixteen teenagers and two chaperones got off the bus before it was fully engulfed in flames within minutes.

A trooper and towing service were able to transport everyone who was on the bus to an establishment at the Lowell exit, where they made arrangements to get home, police said. The southbound I-65 lanes in that area were closed for approximately two hours to extinguish the fire, clean up and remove the bus.