A bus fire sparked a potentially dangerous grass fire along Hwy. 35 in Italy on Friday. The break line on the bus may have been the source as the passenger bus ignited while traveling south toward Waco. No injuries were reported according to Italy volunteer firefighter, Donald Chambers, who stated, “One passenger who was having a hard time breathing, due to asthma, was treated at the scene with no need to be transported to the hospital.”
Italy, Forreston, Avalon, Milford, Waxahachie’s rural fire department and Hillsboro all converged on the scene around 11:05 a.m. Hillsboro deployed units from the Texas Forest Service firefighting task force which are currently stationed all across the state during this stretch of record-breaking heat. The TFS has access to 35 planes in the region ready to respond and drop water on raging grass fires.
Fortunately, the local departments did a solid job handling the bus fire and containing the spreading grass fire that a water-drop wasn’t necessary, commented a TFS representative. However, helicopters where in the air to monitor the scene and report any possible flare ups in the vicinity.
Horses in a scorched pasture located on the hill above the scene were nervous but otherwise fine. The TFS helped to ensure the flames did not reach a tree line that followed a small creek thru the pasture. “We would have had a difficult time crossing the creek and the cracked ground on the opposite side becomes really difficult to navigate,” added, Chambers.
Keith Helms, of Helms Garage in Italy, towed the scorched bus away just before 2:00 p.m. as the I.V.F.D. made one final pass to water down any potential hot spots.