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Driver praised after bus fire

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THE driver of a bus that caught fire in Macroom has been praised for his bravery and quick thinking after he drove the burning vehicle away from the town centre - averting a potential disaster.

THE driver of a bus that caught fire in Macroom has been praised for his bravery and quick thinking after he drove the burning vehicle away from the town centre - averting a potential disaster.

The incident took place last Saturday night after the driver noticed smoke pouring from the 33-seater bus, owned by Coachford based O'Callaghan Coaches.

Niall Cronin, sub station officer with the Macroom fire service, told The Corkman they received a call late on Saturday evening informing them a bus was ablaze on the side of the Inchigeelagh Road.

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"We arrived at the scene and had the fire under control within a short space of time. I would estimate that 90% of the bus was gutted by fire, with only a couple of rows of seats at the front and the diver's compartment undamaged," said Mr Cronin.

"The road was closed for a period by gardai while we tackled the fire and during the subsequent clean up," he added.

However, it was the actions of the bus driver prior to that which impressed Mr Cronin and his colleagues.

"We understand the bus driver saw smoke coming from the engine compartment of the vehicle, which was not carrying any passengers at the time, as he drove into the town. Instead of abandoning the vehicle he decided to turn it around and drive away from the built up area," said Mr Cronin.

He said that, according to eyewitness reports, smoke was billowing from the bus as it was being driven out of the town.

The fire service was alerted to the incident after the bus was eventually parked up by the side of the Inchigeelagh Road close to the former GI factory.

Praising the bus driver for his actions, Mr Cronin said his awareness and bravery averted what could have very easily developed into a serious situation.

"Had the bus caught fire in the town there it could have easily developed into a major incident. I dread to think of the damage that could have been caused to property and the potential injuries to people that could have resulted from this coach going up in flames in the town centre," said Mr Cronin.

"The driver's courageous reaction to what must have been a stressful situation was highly commendable," he added.


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