It was a beautiful Thursday at Great America. It was supposed to be a day for some much-anticipated end of the school year fun for 200 eighth graders from Tinley Park. However, the excursion north to the park did not go quite as envisioned.
One of the five tour buses began spitting sparks behind a tire on the Tri-State at mid-morning. The bus pulled onto the shoulder. Thirty students and adult supervisors from Grissom Middle School got out of the bus, while tollway workers extinguished what was presumed to have been a small brake fire.
Or so they thought.
Within minutes, the fire rekindled and engulfed the entire bus. The students were never in any danger. Some did take cell phone pics of the bus that would not be taking them to Great America.
The kids were driven in tollway vehicles to the nearby Cermak toll plaza as Oak Brook firefighters put out the flames.
Exactly what malfunctioned on the bus is not clear yet, but the fire didn't leave much to look at.
A backup bus eventually picked up the Grissom eighth graders and took them to their destination. They may have missed a couple hours of fun, but their end of the school year field trip will no doubt provide years of storytelling.