FULL STORY: Water, juice used in futile attempt to save burning bus

FULL STORY: Water, juice used in futile attempt to save burning bus
The driver's section of the destroyed passenger bus.
The driver’s section of the destroyed passenger bus.

Minibus M678, owned and driven by Encrata Mitchel on the Castries to Grande Riviere route, took a fiery blow today.

At about 9:45 am, Mitchel, a resident of Grande Riviere, Gros Islet, told St. Lucia News Online (SNO) that he drove his bus into town and heard what he claimed was an unusual sound.

Upon arrival at the designated bus stop, Mitchel said took his vehicle to mechanic Joseph Pierre, who plies his trade right next to the St Lucia Marketing Board, conveniently located in close proximity to at least five bus stations.  There he was told that his alternator bearing had gone bad.  He asked Pierre to remove the defective part so that he could purchase a new on.  He then left the area and went to a barber shop a few minutes away.

Bus driver Encrata Mitchel

Upon his return some 40 minutes later, he told SNO that he was shocked to see his van in flames and the fire and ambulance services on the scene.  In a matter of 10 minutes, his entire livelihood was gone.

Though his van is insured, Mitchel expects to spend some time off the job, as he will need to deal with the official investigation and his insurance adjusters in order to replace his vehicle.

Eyewitnesses told SNO that the fire happened so quickly that all efforts to respond seemed futile.  They did, however, join Pierre in his quest to prevent the total loss of the vehicle.  They threw water and even juice in this attempt, but to no avail.

Pierre, who sustained undefined injuries to his hands and arms, was on the point of leaving the scene to seek medical attention, when we arrived.  He was visibly shaken and was unable to answer any, but the most basic questions.

Other eyewitnesses told SNO that the presence of a fire extinguisher would have worked miracles toward saving this man’s livelihood today.

SNO learnt that it is mandatory for all taxi drivers and boat operators to carry a five or 10-pound extinguisher on board.  They are of the opinion that this should no longer be a choice to minibus drivers as well, and believe that it is a matter of safety for drivers as well as passengers.


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  1. fire extinguishers,insurance,yearly safety vehicle check,regular police spot check,special operator`s license and training......why is it that St.Lucian including the government have to be brought kicking and screaming into doing the right thing.Blood have been spillt and life lost for the safety rules that are in place and it would be a waste of life if we did not implement basic safety rules of the road.


  2. If the fire extinguisher was in the bus, I doubt it would be safe for some on to risk their well being to go in a burning bus and get it to put the bus out...

    Is it me or, who would think it such a "normal" occurrence that vehicles catch on fire? So much so to make fire extinguishers mandatory, at least nowadays! Its best bus drivers be followed by a fire truck!


  3. Does everyone need to wait for the government to implement safety mechanisms. Are we no longer able to think for ourselves?


  4. Everything but spit and piss... I agree with the previous comment, fire extinguishers should be manditory. U can see that most government departments want to sit and do nothing for their monthly pay, when these ppl come to renew their route bands they should inspect the buses to make sure its safe. Fix this, fix that, put in a fire extinguisher or no route band. If only lives were lost u would see transport board pretending to care about the safety of passengers. Prevention vs remedy...


  5. That is is not mandatory on a mass transportation vehicle is nothing short of wilful neglect by authorities and vehicle owners alike.
    Thankfully it was only the bus that was destroyed. Material things are replaceable.
    Life is not.


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