A chartered bus full of international students visiting Tufts University caught fire on Route 128 on the Burlington-Lexington line Wednesday, authorities said.
In a message posted to Twitter around 1:15 p.m., State Police said the “[r]amp from Rte 95 N/B to Rte 3 N/B in #Burlington closed due to bus fire. No injuries reported.”
The bus was carrying about 20 international students enrolled in a a summer English immersion program at Tufts, according to a statement from the school.
The students were on their way to a field trip to the Lowell mills, the statement said.
There were no injuries, everyone on the bus was safely evacuated, and they returned to the Tufts campus in Medford, according to the school.
Lexington fire Chief Derek Sencabaugh told reporters at the scene that the driver of the bus “felt what he thought was a flat tire. So he pulled off the main highway into this breakdown lane here and went out and went to the back tire and noticed it was on fire and evacuated the bus.”
“Pretty much the rear end of the bus, the whole back end of the bus was heavily involved in fire,” Sencabaugh said, according to an excerpt of his press briefing posted to Twitter by a WCVB reporter.
The badly charred Local Motion of Boston bus remained visible on the roadway after the fire was put out.
Local 1491, the union for Lexington firefighters, tweeted that the blaze occurred on “128 North at the Burlington Line.”
Local Motion describes itself on its website as “an owner-operator group transportation organization serving Boston, greater New England and points beyond. Our 160+ vehicle fleet ranges from 14-passenger Sprinter vans to 55-passenger deluxe motor coaches, as well as 20-to-77-passenger school buses.”
The site says the company’s “main office is located in Braintree, Mass., with an additional service center in Newton. We provide group transportation accommodations to parties from 3 to 3,000 or more.”
It wasn’t immediately clear how many people were on the bus when it caught fire, or how the blaze started.
The Burlington Fire Department said via Twitter that their Lexington colleagues had reported “a bus fire 128 Northbound. Reports are all passengers have self evacuated. Lexington Fire requests third attack line to be pulled off Burlington Engine Two.”
The department said crews “from Lexington and Burlington extinguished the fire.”