Evacuee bus explodes near Dallas

The AP is reporting:

DALLAS — A sheriff’s official in Texas said a bus that was apparently carrying Hurricane Rita evacuees has exploded on a highway near Dallas. Officials said at least one person is dead and others are injured. Aerial images show emergency crews examining people near the bus, which was fully engulfed in flames.

That’s all the info I’m finding right now. If anyone else has any, please post it in the comments section. Update: Keep refreshing that link for updates on the story. There’s a slideshow of pictures of what’s left of the bus. It looks horrible :( They are thinking this was a mechanical failure issue. They are also saying now that perhaps as many as 20 people are dead. God be with ’em.

Update 2: Here’s the latest:

WILMER, Texas — A bus carrying elderly evacuees from Hurricane Rita caught fire and then was rocked by explosions early Friday on a gridlocked highway near Dallas, killing as many as 24 people, authorities said.

"Deputies were unable to get everyone off the bus," Dallas County Sheriff’s Department spokesman Don Peritz said. He said he believed 24 people were killed, but added that that number could change.

The bus was carrying 43 people who had been traveling since Thursday from a nursing home or managed-care facility near Houston, Peritz said.

Early indications were that the bus caught fire because of mechanical problems, setting off passengers’ oxygen tanks, Peritz said. He said the brakes may have been on fire.

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