Area Police

Bus catches fire, no injuries reported

OBSERVER Staff Report

PORTLAND – A Megabus en route to Buffalo caught fire early Wednesday morning. All 21 passengers escaped without injury.

According to the Chautauqua County Sheriff’s Office, the county fire investigation team responded to the eastbound lanes of the Thruway for the report of a bus fire at 7:46 a.m.

Through an investigation, it was determined the Megabus sustained a rear driver’s side tire blowout. During the course of exiting the road, the rear tire overheated and combusted, starting the fire. The driver was able to safely exit the road.

New York State Police at the scene say all on board were able to get out of the bus unharmed before flames engulfed the vehicle. The bus was a total loss. Westfield Fire Department, Ripley Fire Department, Fredonia Fire Department and the county HAZMAT Team also responded to the scene.

Coach USA, the Paramus, N.J., based owner of Megabus, says the bus was traveling from Cincinnati to Buffalo. The right lane of the Thruway between Westfield and Dunkirk was closed while the accident was cleaned up.

Chautauqua County Sheriff’s Office

Juan A. Ortiz, 30, of Antelope Street in Dunkirk was charged with unlawful possession of marijuana on Wednesday. At 2 a.m., deputies found Ortiz to be allegedly in possession of a quantity of marijuana on Route 5 in the town of Dunkirk. He was released to appear in Dunkirk Town Court at a later date.