098-A burnt out bus after it caught fire early this morning in Dobsonville Soweto. Picture:Dumisani Dube

Johannesburg - The burned-out shell of a Putco bus stood on the corner of Elias Motsoaledi and Main Reef Road in Soweto on Friday morning.

The original orange colour of the bus was totally blackened and grey with its sides burned to a cinder.

It was still smoking with the wreckage smouldering when The Star arrived.

A witness at the scene Chris Tsheoga said it was scary how quickly the bus went up in flames. “I was standing on the side of the road when the bus pulled over. There was a fire by the engine. The bus driver saw it and shouted for everyone to get off the bus and everyone just ran,” he said.

By 7.30am the entire bus was burning. “People were in shock and couldn't believe what had happened, but luckily everyone got off in time and no one was hurt. Another bus came to pick up all the stranded passengers,” Tsheoga added.

A Putco official on the scene who asked to remain anonymous arrived while the blaze was still “sky high”.

“We got called from the depot and came with fire extinguishers hoping to help but it was too big and Joburg Emergency Services were already called.

“We're not sure yet what caused the fire, we are still speaking with the driver and investigations are in progress,” the official said adding that no one was hurt.

Traffic was extremely slow as passers by gawked curiously at the ravaged site. Part of the road was also blocked by officers from the Joburg Metro Police Department who were doing their best to keep things moving.

By 9am the scene was mostly cleared with the blackened bus still parked on the side of the road.

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The Star