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Lake Shore Drive Bus Driver Cleared Out Passengers Before Fire Engulfed Bus

By Kyla Gardner | November 18, 2014 10:58am
 With suspended trains and a packed Lake Shore Drive, commuters heading Downtown had a rough morning.
Lake Shore Drive Bus Crash, Lincoln Park Fire Create Nightmare Commute
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CHICAGO — A quick-thinking bus driver was able to keep passengers out of harm's way Tuesday morning before the latter-half of an accordian-style bus was engulfed by flames on Lake Shore Drive near Goethe Street.

The driver noticed smoke coming from the rear of the #147 bus as it headed south on Lake Shore Drive  Tuesday morning, said Ibis Antongiorgi, CTA spokeswoman.

He pulled the bus over, told passengers to get off, and then called the Chicago Fire Department at 5:44 a.m., Antongiorgi said.

It was not known how many passengers were on the bus, but no one was injured, officials said. The cause of the fire was still being investigated.

The fire briefly shut down all lanes of traffic, but northbound lanes were reopened about 8 a.m., police said.

 A CTA bus caught fire Tuesday morning on southbound Lake Shore Drive.
A CTA bus caught fire Tuesday morning on southbound Lake Shore Drive.
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Instagram/Jim Nowak

The southbound lanes, however, remained snarled long after that, with traffic backing up all the way to the start of Lake Shore Drive at Hollywood.

By 8:30 a.m., the burned-out bus was towed away from the scene, but water and charred pieces of the bus remained on the ground. Streets and San snow plows were used to block the two right lanes and clear away some of the debris, as passing drivers gawked.

As of 9 a.m., and all lanes of traffic were back open.

Photos on social media showed only a blackened, charred skeleton of the latter-half of the bus remained.

The shut-down of Lake Shore Drive was one of a few headaches for North Side commuters Tuesday morning. A fire at the former Mulligan Elementary School, 1855 N. Sheffield, led to delays on the Purple and Brown Lines and packed Red Line cars.

Elsewhere in the city Tuesday morning, a crash on the inbound Kennedy Expressway slowed traffic into the city, according to traffic reports, and a small plane crashed into a home near Midway Airport.

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