Wednesday morning traffic on Ponce de Leon Boulevard was interrupted when an Old Town Trolley Tour vehicle caught fire on North Ponce de Leon Boulevard at Rhode Avenue, according to information collected by local Historic City News reporters.
Firefighters with the St Augustine Fire Department and emergency medical personnel from St Johns County responded to the scene to evacuate the passengers to safety and extinguish the vehicle fire.
“Everyone made it off the bus safely and the fire was put out,” according to the St Augustine Fire Department. A spokesman confirmed that the passenger bus is owned by Historic Tours of America and operated by Old Town Trolley Tours.
This is the second time in the last six months that the local transportation operator franchised by the City of St Augustine has been in the headlines.
Sometime between 11:00 a.m. and 11:20 a.m. on Saturday morning, July 17th, an open-sided trolley overturned while the driver was making a turn at Charlotte Street and St Francis Street, according to the St Augustine Fire Department.
While all injuries in that crash were non-life-threatening, twelve people were injured, including one person who was flown by air ambulance to an Orange Park hospital. First responders took the other eleven passengers to Flagler Hospital, the fire department said.
In a televised interview with First Coast News, General Manager, Dave Chatterton said, “We are absolutely doing an internal investigation. We’re going to figure out exactly what happened, so it doesn’t happen again.”
Chatterton told reporters at that time that the driver of the trolley had been working for their company for years and accidents like this are very rare. St Augustine Police later reported to Historic City News that the driver of the trolley was cited for reckless driving.