BILLINGS - Montana State University's men’s lacrosse team had quite the scare Sunday evening after a fire erupted on the bus they were traveling on while the team was headed back to Bozeman after a weekend of games in North Dakota.
“Some people in the back were like hey, there’s a little smoke coming out of the bathroom,” said MSU lacrosse player,Billy Diffley.
The team stopped for dinner in Billings and had just gotten back on I-90 when the team realized something was wrong.
“We were flagged down by a fellow commuter just saying, indicating that there was something going on in the back,” said head coach, Chris Kelley.
The bus pulled over and everyone evacuated as Kelley went to check out the engine compartment.
“And there was a little flame there, not a ton, and he grabbed the fire extinguisher and he thought he pulled it out,” said Diffley.
The flames, however, kept coming back.
“Just kept reigniting and not sure if those flames kind of just started something up top,” Kelley said.
Kelley quickly got off the bus and moments later, it was engulfed in flames.
Meadow Herman lives right next to I-90 and was returning home after grocery shopping when she saw what was going on.
“We could feel the heat from the flames when we got out of the car,” Herman said.
She hit record on her cellphone as they pulled in front of their house.
“I saw this black plume of smoke,” Herman said.
Fortunately, everyone on the team made it out safely. It’s still not clear what sparked the fire.
“We got most of our lacrosse gear off the bus,” Diffley said.
However, not every item made it out.
“We didn’t get any of our computers, schoolwork, any of that sort,” Diffley said.
Even some personal items were lost in the flames.
“Car keys, you know I think there’s one or two kids that couldn’t jump in their own car last night to go home,” Kelley said.
Though the team has suffered a loss, they’re gearing up for next weekend’s game.
“The world doesn’t stop, we got to keep going, we got a game next Saturday,” Diffley said.
The lacrosse team has set up a GoFundMe to help those students who lost computers and personal items. You can donate here.