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Heroes who tackled Finchley Road bus fire describe rescue

PUBLISHED: 17:37 15 August 2017 | UPDATED: 17:47 15 August 2017

Marius Asteika (left) and Emilio Garcia both ran to help save bus passengers after a bus caught fire Picture: Polly Hancock

Marius Asteika (left) and Emilio Garcia both ran to help save bus passengers after a bus caught fire Picture: Polly Hancock

Archant

These are the two heroic security guards who bravely tackled a burning bus and ushered scores of passengers - including a pregnant woman - to safety in Finchley Road.

JW3 where the security guards work is just down the road from where the bus fire took place outside Finchley and Frognal station Picture: Google Street ViewJW3 where the security guards work is just down the road from where the bus fire took place outside Finchley and Frognal station Picture: Google Street View

Emilio Garcia, 33, who works at the JW3 centre, did not hesitate to act as he heard a loud explosion at about 7.30pm on Sunday.

As he raced outside he saw the 113 double-decker bus stationary, a scene of panic and smoke billowing from the vehicle outside Finchley and Frognal station.

Emilio Garcia (left) and Marius Asteika are both security guards at JW3. Emilio has worked there for 8 months whilst Marius has been there for a year. Picture: Polly HancockEmilio Garcia (left) and Marius Asteika are both security guards at JW3. Emilio has worked there for 8 months whilst Marius has been there for a year. Picture: Polly Hancock

Video: Alex Hoods/PA

He told the Ham&High: “People were just running around and crying. Everyone was panicking.

“When I first saw the bus, I thought this could kill, it had exploded really badly.

“There were lots of little explosions and there were still people on the bus.”

Emilio then radioed his colleague Marius Asteika, 27, who arrived and, without a thought for his own safety, ran onto the bus and shouted for people to get off.

Marius, a father-of-one, added: “There were around 20 to 30 people on the bus. I remember seeing two ladies sitting still not knowing what to do. I shouted ‘move move, get off the bus’. There was so much smoke.”

Thepregnant woman and a 12-year-old boy were aboth taken to hospital as a precautionary measure.

Meanwhile Emilio had grabbed an extinguisher from the driver who was in shock at what had happened. The video, captured by passerby Alex Hoods, shows Emilio behind the bus spraying water in an attempt to calm the fire.

“I just wanted to try and stop it as the explosions and the fire were getting bigger,” he added. “I was afraid though as the flames were close to my face.”

The video then shows Emilio running into the station as he searched for a proper extinguisher but he could not find one. Thirtyseconds later, he described a fireball shot out of the back of the bus where Emilio had been standing.

Despite the dramatic scene, he explained how his military background had equipped him to deal with the threat and he had no hesitation in tackling the threat head on.

“We are trained for this. I have been lucky so many times so I did not need to think.”

“We were just doing our job, it is nothing special. We were always talking to each other,” he said.

A spokesperson for Transport for London said: “There were no injuries sustained by the passengers or driver and investigations as to the cause of the incident are under way.”

When they returned to work this week the duo were welcomed with a round of applause from their proud colleagues.

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