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Stowaway smoking in luggage compartment sparked fire on Greyhound bus, police say

Posted at 5:42 PM, May 07, 2015
and last updated 2015-05-08 08:16:33-04

STAFFORD COUNTY -- A man stowed away in the luggage compartment of a Richmond-bound Greyhound bus was flown to the hospital to be treated for life-threatening burns after the bus caught fire on Interstate 95 in Stafford, Virginia.

"State police have determined the man apparently stowed away in the luggage compartment at its departure point in New York," Virginia State Police spokesman Sgt. Steve Vick said. "It’s suspected a lit cigarette started the fire inside the compartment."

The bus, which left New York City Thursday morning, was scheduled to stop in Richmond before continuing on its trip to Atlanta. However, at 2:39 p.m., Virginia State Police responded to a report of a vehicle fire along the southbound lanes of I-95 about 60 miles north of Richmond, at the 144 mile marker.

When the driver started to see and smell smoke coming into the cabin of the 2014 Greyhound bus, he safely pulled to the right shoulder on I-95 where all 28 passengers exited without incident. Stafford County Fire and Virginia State Police discovered the fire coming from the baggage compartment below the passenger compartment.

PHOTO CREDIT: WUSA

PHOTO CREDIT: WUSA

The man found in the luggage compartment, a 35-year old from Plainfield, New Jersey, was flown to Medstar Washington Hospital Center in Washington D.C for treatment. None of the ticketed passengers were injured.

The Stafford County Sheriff’s Office arranged for all passengers to be transported by a school bus to the nearest Greyhound location in Fredericksburg, where they awaited a Greyhound relief bus to continue the schedule to Richmond.