A Mercer University team bus catches fire

More stories from Mandi DeLong

Mercer University support staff, Lindsay Hunt, was walking with her salad in Golden Corral when someone came up to her bus driver in front of her to let him know that his bus was on fire. Hunt said the driver immediately ran outside, while others in the building began taking pictures and Snapchats of the burning bus.

Hunt was traveling with the team in South Carolina when one of Mercer’s charter buses caught fire. 

The blaze occurred on bus number four, among the four charter buses Mercer uses to transport football players, coaches, and other staff members to far away games. Bus Four is designated for support staff like Hunt. 

Morgan Simmons, another member of support staff, said that when people realized just how bad the fire was, they ran outside to get as much equipment from under the bus as possible. She said this didn’t include the support staff’s personal belongings, which were all still inside the bus.

“One moment, you’re sitting in a Golden Corral and the next minute, you’re standing outside by your burning bus and they’re telling you nothing you have on there is going to come off the same,” said Simmons.

Mercer Director of Football Operations, Bennett Houston was outside throwing bags out from underneath the bus to try and save as much as he could. When Houston became aware that their personal items were still mostly on the bus, he tried to board the bus to retrieve students’ belongings. Simmons said Head Coach Drew Cronic stopped Houston because of the growing blaze.

The fire department arrived quickly and began pulling the remainder of the items off of the bus. Simmons said that they had to check if the items were still functioning.  According to Hunt, both she and Simmons took pictures for insurance. 

“They told us that if it didn’t come off the bus, it wasn’t coming off the bus,” Hunt said.

Simmons said that the fire department had to break the windows and brought in the firehose to put out the fire. Simmons said because of the firefighter’s efforts, a lot of the items on the bus were saved and recovered in the debris of broken glass and water. 

“I had a really, really thick book in my backpack in front of my laptop. That very thick book was soaked completely through, and my laptop was behind it, and it only had a little bit of water in the casing,” said Hunt.

Neither Simmons nor Hunt was sure why their bus caught on fire and preferred not to speculate. Mercer Sports Information Director Travis Rae said that the accident is still under investigation.