Patch.com received two emails yesterday claiming to be from persons who were riding on the MTA bus damaged yesterday by an explosion in an underground vault on Westwood Boulevard and Weyburn Avenue.
Patch later spoke with the writer of one of those emails, Jeffrey Countryman, who works at UCLA Extension. Countryman said that he heard the explosion coming from the front of the bus, even though the fire was at the back.
"The bus was coming to my stop, so I had just gotten up and started walking down from the back of the bus to the back door, and I heard the explosion on the front end of the bus. Then within seconds, there was a fire on the back part of the bus. At that point, everyone had just started running for the door,” Countryman told Patch in a phone interview this morning.
He said the other passengers started screaming and running for the doors. The driver (still unnamed) "immediately pulled over and the doors opened and we all got out. It was quick. But I smelled the burning and I saw the fire, just all around the back. It was almost like the left side was covered with fire.”
The second email stated that approximately 20 people were on the bus when the explosion occurred.
Countryman said that he was afraid the bus was going to explode, but credited the driver with getting the doors open quickly so that passengers could escape.
“I have to hand it to the bus driver for getting the doors open and getting people out," Countryman said. "He really got people out of the way and made sure we were safe.”
The driver was later hospitalized, having been deafened by the blast.