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      Students Safe After Charter Bus Goes Up in Flames

      Passengers of a charter bus that went up in flames early Thursday morning are returning back home.

      Emergency units were sent to the area near the Creek Turnpike and 11th Street after being notified that a charter bus had caught fire. The bus was carrying middle schoolers, coaches and chaperones heading from Lawton to Louisville, Kentucky for an archery competition.

      Oklahoma Highway Patrol troopers and firefighters helped battle the blaze and get all the passengers off the bus without any injuries. The passengers' belongings, including the archery equipment, burned. Crews had to shutdown the eastbound direction of the turnpike for about 40 minutes during the incident.

      Officials told KTUL that the bus driver reported the bus was shaking before it caught fire. He stopped and looked under and noticed the flames.

      Investigators report that a possible axle malfunction might be to blame.

      Around 4:45 a.m., crews were able to open the inside eastbound lane. The lane closure lasted several hours. Crews removed the charred bus around 8:30 a.m.Flower Mound School Superintendent Diana Jackson said the district will decide Thursday afternoon whether or not to compete in the competition in Louisville, which begins Friday. The district has received an outpouring of support from area businesses and other competing schools.

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