SAN DIEGO --
Dozens of bus passengers escaped serious injury after a tour bus from Tijuana, Mexico, to Los Angeles caught fire on Interstate 5 near Del Mar Heights Road on Monday.
Roughly 30 people were in the Intercalifornias Tour Bus when the fire broke out at about 11:58 a.m.
Passengers reported hearing popping noises and smelling smoke as the bus traveled through Del Mar on Interstate 5.
"All that smoke started. We couldn't even breathe," said Emilene Castanon, who was sitting in the back row when smoke started filling the cabin.
The driver immediately pulled the bus over and began evacuating passengers.
"Everybody started panicking and everyone started trying to exit through the front door and I couldn't get out because everybody was so busy [trying to go through the front door]," said Castanon.
She said she kicked out the rear emergency window in the back of the bus. The window was about six feet above the road.
"I was so afraid to jump that I just did it because I thought this thing was going to explode you know," said Castanon. "I was so scared. I was freaking out."
Castanon landed safely on the ground. All the other passengers also got out of the bus safely.
Firefighters were able to extinguish the bus fire at about 12:20 p.m. An Intercalifornias spokesman told 10News the cause of the fire is still under investigation. He said the bus was inspected Monday morning before it left Tijuana.
A Sig Alert was issued and three of the four lanes near the incident were temporarily closed as authorities cleaned up the area.
An accident involving other vehicles was also reported when traffic slowed down after the fire.
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