A charter bus carrying 31 members of Stanford’s men’s and women’s track and field teams caught fire on northbound Interstate 5 at around 2:20 p.m. on Friday. No one was injured, and the fire was extinguished within an hour.
The cause of the fire was a brake fire, according to Washington State Patrol and David Kiefer, assistant director of communications for Stanford Athletics.
“All members of the travel party, which included head coach Chris Miltenberg and approximately 30 student-athletes, evacuated the bus safely,” Kiefer wrote in a statement. “Most personal belongings and equipment were recovered, but the condition of those items was not immediately known.”
The athletes were in Seattle to compete at the University of Washington (UW) Invitational at the Dempsey Indoor track. The bus was taking them from the airport to the hotel, javelin thrower Mackenzie Little ’19 said. About two hours after the incident, King County Metro Bus was sent to pick up the team members from the site.
The fire caused all northbound lanes at South Spokane Street to close for almost an hour, according to the Washington State Department of Transportation, causing a four-mile backup. The high occupancy vehicle (HOV) lane reopened at about 2:40 p.m.
The UW Invitational, a two-day indoor meet, began Friday at 1 p.m. The effect of the incident on Stanford’s participation in the meet remains unclear.
The No. 13 men and No. 17 women will be represented by a total of 52 athletes at the meet this weekend, many of whom are expected to make their indoor season debut. This weekend’s meet marks the second trip to Seattle for the Cardinal this month after a select few athletes competed in the UW Indoor Preview two weeks ago.
This article has been updated to include the cause of the fire and comment from Stanford Athletics.
Contact Julia Ingram at jmingram ‘at’ stanford.edu and Alejandro Salinas at asalinas ‘at’ stanford.edu.