YERMO About 20 people were spared injury Tuesday morning when a quick-thinking California Highway Patrol officer noticed flames underneath the backside of their tour bus and pulled over the vehicle, authorities said.

At approximately 7:15 a.m., CHP was traveling southbound on Interstate 15 when the officer saw the fire on the tour bus and pulled it over south of Fort Irwin Road, according to Barstow CHP Officer Don Spiker.

The officer attempted to put out the flames with a fire extinguisher, but the flames were too big, Spiker said.

All occupants were evacuated along with their luggage, according to Spiker. The people were headed to Los Angeles from New York and, through a language barrier, were believed to be performers.

The Barstow Fire Protection District arrived on scene in an attempt to extinguish the fire, but the bus became fully engulfed, Spiker said.

The officer flagged down an empty Victorville bus headed southbound on the I-15 and was able to have the 20 or so from the tour bus driven to Barstow "so no one was sitting on the road," according to Spiker.

The driver of the tour bus had thought the bus had a flat tire and was ready to ride it out until the next exit, Spiker said. The driver had no idea the bus was on fire.

The CHP is investigating.

Shea Johnson may be reached at (760) 256-4126 or at