Blaze guts school bus by Beer junction

17:00 13 June 2014

The burnt out coach on the A3052 near to the Beer junction on Monday. Photo by Simon Horn. Ref shs 4750-24-14SH To order your copy of this photograph go to www.sidmouthherald.co.uk and click on Photo Orders

The burnt out coach on the A3052 near to the Beer junction on Monday. Photo by Simon Horn. Ref shs 4750-24-14SH To order your copy of this photograph go to www.sidmouthherald.co.uk and click on Photo Orders

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A blaze that gutted a school coach on the A3052’s junction to Beer has been described by one eyewitness as ‘horrific’.

The burnt out coach on the A3052 near to the Beer junction on Monday. Photo by Simon Horn. Ref shs 4765-24-14SH To order your copy of this photograph go to www.sidmouthherald.co.uk and click on Photo OrdersThe burnt out coach on the A3052 near to the Beer junction on Monday. Photo by Simon Horn. Ref shs 4765-24-14SH To order your copy of this photograph go to www.sidmouthherald.co.uk and click on Photo Orders

The vehicle had picked up students from Axminster but had dropped off the last one in Seaton when the fire broke out.

Motorist Tanya Newbury was on the Beer bend behind two cars when she first saw the flames as ‘high as the fir trees’ licking from the burning vehicle.

“It was horrific,” she said. “The flames had totally engulfed it.

“My instant thought was ‘is there any one in it?’ I was going to rush over and then I saw the fire brigade had turned up.

“I was just in pure shock. All I could keep thinking was ‘is there anyone in there and how I can help?’ It was terrifying. There were just huge flames pouring out of the windows, they were high as the fir trees.”

Raymond Borkowski, whose Honiton-based company Alpha Coaches owned the 49-seater vehicle, was called to the scene and said: “The crews were here straight away but once the fire took hold there was nothing they could do.”

He said the driver was the only person on board and left the coach unharmed when the blaze broke out.

A police spokesperson said the blaze ‘melted the road’ and confirmed that the driver was safe. The A3052 was closed between Hangman’s Stone and Seaton Down Hill, with motorists being diverted through Beer.

One fire appliance from Seaton and another from Sidmouth were mobilised to the incident.

On arrival crews found the coach well alight and got to work with breathing apparatus and two hose reel jets. A third fire appliance was requested for water, which also came from Sidmouth.

Crews got to work with four breathing apparatus wearers and two hose reel jets.

A fire service spokesman said: “The coach was severely damaged by fire and the cause of the fire was accidental.”

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