Photo courtesy of Mike Jachles/Orange County Fire and Rescue Department

A UCF shuttle with six students on board was evacuated before catching fire just miles from the main campus Wednesday afternoon.

Orange County Fire Rescue spokesperson Mike Jachles said the department received a call Wednesday about smoke coming from the rear driver side wheel well around 3:46 p.m.


Jachles said the driver of the shuttle first noticed a smell inside the cabin followed by an alert for the air brake warning system of the shuttle as he got off the 408 on to Challenger Parkway.

The driver was able to safely bring the shuttle to a stop on Challenger Parkway.

In 2015, another UCF shuttle caught fire on Challenger Parkway that triggered an inspection of all university shuttles. Despite the second occurance, UCF Media Relations Coordinator Rachel Williams said in a Thursday email that shuttle fires are a rarity.

The shuttle was coming from the Academic Health Sciences Campus in Lake Nona back to the main campus, Williams said in the email.

The Academic Health Sciences Campus — home to UCF’s College of Medicine, the Burnett School of Biomedical Sciences, and will be the home of the UCF College of Nursing in the future, according to its website — is about 22 miles from the main campus.

Photo courtesy of Mike Jachles/Orange County Fire and Rescue Department

Jachles said the shuttle driver attempted to put out the fire using an on-board extinguisher, but was not successful.

Orange County Fire Rescue responded and was able to put out the fire. All passengers were safely evacuated off the shuttle and no injuries were reported.

Despite Orange County Fire Rescue initially reporting the shuttle was coming from the Rosen College of Hospitality Management to UCF’s main campus — about a 29 mile distance — Williams confirmed the shuttle was coming from the Lake Nona campus.

Jachles said the operator of the shuttle company told first responders the shuttle was coming from the Rosen campus.

This is a developing story. Check back for updates.