A BUS burst into flames on the Oxford ring road tonight, with plumes of black smoke billowing from the vehicle.

The Stagecoach bus, which was not in service at the time, caught fire shortly before 8pm on the Eastern Bypass.

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Drivers stuck behind the bus were trapped for two hours while emergency services made the scene safe and recovered the burnt-out wreckage, with the road finally reopening shortly before 10pm.


Picture: David Hockaday

Footage posted by documentary-makers Angel Sharp Media, above, showed emergency services on scene and a queue of cars at a standstill, with their hazard lights flashing.

The fire happened on the northbound side of the road, just past the Mini plant, and has since been hosed down by firefighters.

Video of the fire filmed by Pawel Kwiador

Drivers and passengers in the vicinity appeared to have abandoned their cars and were standing in the road as the fire took hold. 

The bus could be seen completely engulfed by flames, with the sound of crackling as it spread.

One of the witnesses from Angel Sharp Media told the Oxford Mail: "We were driving along and we could smell something weird. 

"The bus in front looked like the engine was overheating or just had some steam coming from it, but the smell was strange - it pulled over with its hazards on.

"Both lanes of traffic stopped and we started reversing as we realised something more serious was up."

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They said the driver got out and ran to the other side of the road, and started talking to oher drivers.


Marcos Toniolo shared this photo of the burnt-out bus after the fire was hosed down

Police arrived on scene quickly and closed off both sides of the road due to the smoke.

The witness added: "It was very dramatic - oncoming cars were driving through huge clouds of smoke with their headlights lighting the flames and smoke up.

"The small flames started inside the bus in the middle, then they started growing. We couldn't quite believe it.

"Then the back window smashed with a loud noise, and flames started pouring out of the windows."

They said the smoke turned 'really black' and police instructed everyone to get back inside their cars, at which point a fire engine arrived.

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Chris Coleman, managing director of Stagecoach in Oxfordshire, said: "The safety of our passengers and employees is our priority.

"Following an incident on the Eastern Bypass this evening we are working with the authorities and helping them with their investigation.

"At this stage we can confirm that the Stagecoach bus involved was not in service and that no passengers were on board at the time of the incident.

"We can also confirm that the driver of the bus is thankfully unhurt."


Picture: Angel Sharp Media

Oxfordshire Fire and Rescue Service also confirmed that no-one was injured in the fire.

Crews from Oxford and Wheatley doused the flames, which took about half an hour to get under control.


Picture: Oxfordshire Fire and Rescue Service

Nazmin Miah, who was among those stuck in the queue, said the fire had been tamed as of about 8.45pm and traffic on the other side of the road was then let through.

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It was not until about 10pm that traffic on the same side of the bus got moving again, after it was loaded onto a recovery vehicle. 

The road had been closed both ways and Hollow Way was also severely congested where people were diverting.

Emergency services have been contacted for further information.

In May 2017, another Stagecoach bus also caught fire on the Eastern Bypass - read again