At about 7:45pm on April 10, a large bus carrying Montana State University – Bozeman (MSU-B) men’s lacrosse team caught fire on Interstate 90 West between the two Lockwood exits. According to the team’s coach, Chris Kelley, the team had just finished dinner and were heading home, when one of his players noticed some smoke coming from the bathroom.
“The fire quickly spread and eventually destroyed the entire bus along with many of the items within it,” the team reported on their Instagram page. However, no fatalities or major injuries were reported due to the fire. The team and first responders both stated that an engine failure was to blame for this incident.
Resident John McCormick, who witnessed the event, described how “We could feel the heat of the flames all the way from North Frontage [Road].”
Another eyewitness, Dillon Mehling, said, “I’m surprised the cops aren’t trying to block off the traffic,” as other vehicles continued to buzz directly by the blaze at normal highway speeds.
“People are really reckless,” another onlooker agreed.
Sargent Jay Nelson with Montana Highway Patrol (MHP) stated that blocking off traffic “can be a tough call, and usually we leave it up to the firefighters in these instances.” Nelson did note that traffic was partially blocked in the westbound lane for about 15 minutes.
Crews worked until shortly after 10:00 pm Sunday to extinguish the raging fire and then clean up the mess it left behind.
Sgt. Nelson also said, “All the team members were okay… and declined medical attention, [which] was very lucky.”
The Bobcat Lacrosse team set up a GoFundMe page asking for donations to help replace the equipment and personal belongings that were lost as a result of this fire. To donate, go to: www.gofundme.com/f/help-msu-lacrosse-recover-and-get-to-nationals