An eastbound Hampton Jitney caught fire Saturday morning on the Long Island Expressway in Nassau County.
According to witnesses, all the passengers got off the bus unharmed.
Hampton Jitney President Geoff Lynch said in a statement that the bus had a fire in the engine compartment at around 10:45 a.m., shortly after passing Exit 32 on the LIE en route to the Hamptons from Manhattan.
The bus’s crew evacuated the passengers, about 40 of them, to the side of the highway, where they were picked up a short time later by another Jitney, Mr. Lynch said.
One witness described the bus as “a burning inferno.” Another witness, Nancy Charos of Southampton, said she and another woman were sitting in the back of the bus when they smelled smoke.
“We knew there was smoke—we said there was fire. But there was no attendant coming around,” Ms. Charos said on Tuesday, adding that there were two Jitney attendants on the bus. “I’m saying to the people, ‘Let’s get out that way, let’s open that [emergency] window.’ People in the front of the bus didn’t even know what was going on. It was like there was communication block between the front and the back of the bus. No one was doing anything.”
Ms. Charos said the bus hit a significant bump in the road before it caught fire, and she said the bus burst into flames shortly after she and the other passengers had gotten off. “It seems like, in 30 seconds to a minute, where I was sitting was engulfed in flames. It was close,” she said. “It was really, really scary, and I feel very blessed.”
The company said on Saturday it was working with investigators to determine the cause of the fire. A representative did not respond to a request for comment earlier this week.