Have-a-go-hero who tried to extinguish bus fire: I thought it would explode

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A security guard who tackled a bus blaze with a fire extinguisher said today that he thought the double-decker was going to explode.

Emilio Garcia, 36, was on duty at a nearby building when he heard a loud bang outside Finchley Road and Frognal Overground station on Sunday.

He ran towards the noise and saw flames and smoke billowing from the No 117 bus. He helped several passengers off before grabbing a fire extinguisher from the driver.

In footage posted online, Mr Garcia can be seen running towards the flames with the extinguisher as explosions go off in the engine compartment.

Smoke could be seen billowing into the air after the bus caught fire on Sunday evening (Anna (Twitter))

Mr Garcia, who lives in Hackney, has been a security guard with SQR Security Solutions for almost two years. He moved to London in 2015 and has served in Somalia and Libya with the Spanish navy. 

He said: “I was worried the bus was going to blow up if I didn’t calm the fire down. There were lots of people nearby and I knew if it went up it would cause a big problem because it’s a busy road in a residential area. I had to take the risk because there were explosions going off quickly. 

“I was in the Spanish navy so compared to serving in Somalia and Libya, putting out the fire was nothing. When it was over people thanked me. But then I had to go back to work.”

Emilio Garcia tried to single-handedly extinguish a blazing London bus

 Mr Garcia said there were about 30 people on the bus when he arrived at the blaze on Sunday night. In the video he can be seen running towards the station to ask for a more powerful extinguisher.

 He claimed: “The station was unprepared and there was not a single fire extinguisher or first aid kit there. The staff said they just don’t have one. That really worries me.” 

But a TfL spokeswoman said: “All of our stations are equipped with fire safety equipment, with a minimum of two extinguishers at all London Overground stations. Arriva Rail London, the station operators, are reviewing what assistance their staff provided during the bus fire outside Finchley Road and Frognal station.”

Bus operator Metroline confirmed an investigation had begun. Firefighters had the blaze under control in 10 minutes and no one was injured.


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