A bus that had just unloaded a group of high school football players was soon engulfed in flames at Belmont Park Friday evening.
The team from Pinnacle High School in Phoenix, Arizona, wanted to enjoy a day at the beach before a tournament this weekend at the University of San Diego, so one of their first stops was Mission Beach.
After dropping off the team, the driver went to refuel. As he re-entered the parking lot off Mission Boulevard at 6:15 p.m., he heard a pop, according to the team's head coach Dana Zupke.
The driver saw flames starting to rise as he looked under the vehicle. He had enough time to get back on board, grab the ball bag and the coach's paperwork, and get off.
"He's really a hero in this, in terms of saving our stuff that was on the bus," said Zupke. No one else was on board.
All of the players were out enjoying the beach. Zupke wasn't even sure if many had learned of the fire when he spoke with NBC 7.
“I had one of my players text me and say, ‘Hey coach, by the way, the bus is on fire,’” Zupke said, laughing.
The bus company quickly supplied another bus to replace the scorched ride.