Asbury College softball team van catches fire
WILMORE, KY – What should have been a sleepy ride became a tense situation when an Asbury College minivan caught fire on I-64 near Grayson, Ky. The driver’s quick thinking ensured that all aboard arrived home safely.
While returning late Saturday night from a softball victory over Concord University in Athens, W. Va., a College-owned minivan with the driver, two students and the team’s equipment, began experiencing engine problems. The driver noticed smoke and immediately evacuated the passengers. In moments, flames began to appear leading to the van’s fiery demise.
Just before it pulled over, one of the students who was having trouble sleeping looked out the back of the Ford Freestar minivan to see sparks and smoke. The van’s other student passenger was awakened by the noise of the tires going over the road’s rumble strips as the driver brought it to a quick stop. By the time the van ceased moving, the driver had both students ready to exit to safety.
The driver, who holds a Commercial Driver’s License, moved the students a safe distance from the smoldering vehicle where they watched as flames overtook it. The college is grateful for his quick thinking, command of the situation and deep regard for the student’s safety.
The van and its contents were a complete loss. School equipment and some personal items – including a laptop computer – were lost in the flames.
In trying to determine the fire’s cause, a search of all maintenance and usage records has exposed nothing that would point to a possible cause for the blaze. Records show that the 2004-model van, having had all routine maintenance and with only 56,000 miles on the odometer, was in good working order. The van had experienced some minor problems on the way to the game, but nothing that would indicate the eventual outcome.
Asbury College wants to thank all those who have expressed concern for those involved, and for their support. This is the first year for the team and losing some equipment is a setback, but coach Larry McCullough says that it’s only temporary. The College is working with the insurance company to cover the loss of uniforms and equipment. A game scheduled with Georgetown College on Tuesday was canceled.
Showing their spirit, games Friday with Brescia University in Owensboro, Kentucky, and a home game against St. Catharine College on Saturday at 3 p.m. will occur as scheduled. The team is anxious to move forward and show what they can do.
If you would like to help the softball team rebuild from their losses, call (859) 858-3511, ext. 2104 for more information.