Stowaway's cigarette started Virginia bus fire: police

Reuters News
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Posted: May 08, 2015 2:43 PM

By John Clarke

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - A stowaway smoking in the baggage compartment of a Greyhound bus caused a vehicle fire in Virginia that snarled traffic and left the man in critical condition, police said on Friday.

The southbound bus was in Stafford, about 45 miles south of Washington, on a trip from New York to Atlanta on Thursday when the driver saw and smelled smoke inside the bus, Virginia State Police said in a statement.

Fire crews and state police discovered the fire coming from the baggage compartment. Inside, they found Jason Pittman, 35, of Plainfield, New Jersey, who was badly burned, police said. The cause of the fire was a lit cigarette, they said.

Pittman had climbed into the baggage compartment of the Richmond-bound bus in New York.

The blaze was contained to the bus' baggage compartment. All 28 passengers safely evacuated the bus, although the incident snarled traffic for 10 miles on Interstate 95, the bus' route.

Pittman was taken to a hospital in the Washington area and was in critical condition, a hospital spokeswoman said.

(Editing by Bill Trott)