PASSENGERS had a lucky escape after the bus they were travelling on caught fire.
The Arriva bus had just dropped people off at a stop in Seaside Lane, Easington Colliery, when a passing motorist noticed smoke pouring out of the engine.
The driver was informed and everybody was evacuated just as the engine at the back of the single-decker bus burst into flames.
Police and fire crews were called to the scene at 5.45pm yesterday.
The road was closed for an hour while emergency services tackled the fire.
Firefighters managed to contain the fire to the engine compartment, but the back of the bus did suffer smoke damage.
It is not clear how many people were on the bus at the time of the fire.
A spokesman for Peterlee Fire Station said: “It was lucky that a passing motorist spotted the smoke coming out of the rear of the bus.
“The driver and passengers had all managed to get off safely by the time we arrived.”
A Durham Police spokesman said there were no suspicious circumstances and they reopened the road at 7.08pm once the bus had been recovered.