BY Robert Muhereza & Atatractor Kamahoro
KISORO. A Kisoro-bound Jaguar bus on Monday morning caught fire and burnt to ashes, but all the 40 passengers escaped unhurt, according to police.
Merchandise and other belongings of the travellers were all destroyed in the 7:30am conflagration at Nyakabande Airstrip, about six kilometres to Kisoro town.
Mr Charles Patrick Okoto, the Kisoro district police commander, says their rescue team was unable to salvage luggage on the ill-fated bus.
“The cause of the fire is that one of the behind tyres of the bus burst and later caused friction that resulted in flames that burnt all the passenger seats,” he says.
Thick black plumes of smoke billowed from the 69-seater bus to the horror and consternation of survivors and onlookers.
A survivor says one of the rear tyres of the bus burst and the replacement too burst, but the driver powered on since he was close to the destination.
The flapping tyre strips heated up in the friction against the bitumen surface, generating smoke and eventually fire that consumed the entire bus, another passenger says asking not to be named.
Many travellers jumped out to safety through the window.
Police are investigating whether there was negligence that risked passengers’ lives and led to destruction of property. The charred frame of the bus is yet to be towed to the police station as inquiries continue.
Hajji Shafique Ssekandi, the Kisoro resident district commissioner, has asked management of the bus company to immediately provide alternative means of transport for stranded passengers.