A charter bus caught fire Thursday night, sending 27 passengers running onto the side of Interstate 5 near La Jolla. Riders reported smelling fumes as soon as they started on their trek to Los Angeles.
Passenger Tessa Cardwell told NBC 7 cars started honking at the bus driver, gesturing for him to pull over as they neared Gilman Drive. He did pull to the side, stepped out and started yelling for everyone to get off.
“It was just really terrifying because we could smell fumes, and me and a few other people were in the back so we had no idea what was going on," said rider Shayan Lavi.
Everyone escaped the flames with no injuries reported, fire officials say, but the passengers were left standing on the side of the freeway until they can get alternate transportation.
The vehicle was coming from the San Diego Greyhound station and was headed for Los Angeles.
Cardwell said a pregnant woman warned her she smelled fumes as soon as the group took off.
"She could be in danger with her baby because she inhaled all of that the whole way," she said.
Everyone was forced to leave their luggage aboard the smoldering bus.
Officers shut down the westbound transition from State Route 52 to I-5 north — a span of about a quarter mile — until the fire was completely out and the bus removed.
It's unclear what caused the fire, but firefighters have opened an investigation.