, British Union Conference, with
additional reporting by Adventist Review
A group of Adventist
children from Britain narrowly escaped a fire that destroyed their bus as they
left the International Pathfinder Camporee in Oshkosh, Wisconsin, last weekend.
A tire blew out on
the bus as it traveled on a Wisconsin highway for Atlanta, Georgia, on Aug. 17.
The driver pulled over to the side of the highway to take a closer look, but then
a fire quickly erupted.
"We heard a loud
bang, saw smoke, and next we knew we were exiting our coach, which was beginning
to burn,” said Joshua Roberts, a passenger and a Pathfinder leader. “Thankfully
everyone exited safely, and the fire department arrived shortly after."
He praised God that
no one was injured and noted that the Pathfinders had prayed for safe travels
before leaving Oshkosh.
“Before commencing our
journey we prayed for traveling mercies,” he said. “We thank God for life, and
we remember that He protects His children.”
The fire shut down
the highway for about four hours and made headlines on local television and in newspapers. The Pathfinders, from London’s Holloway Adventist Church, were
shown on television thanking God for His protection.
Two young people were
briefly hospitalized as a precaution, said the group’s leader, Ian Johnson.
It wasn’t immediately
clear how many Pathfinders were on the bus.
The travelers lost
some luggage, and one laptop was damaged in the fire. But all passports
were secure, and the Pathfinders were in good spirits.
The Pathfinders said
they were grateful not just to the firefighters but also to other Pathfinder
groups that have stepped in to help.
from the Chicago state saw our coach go up in flames and stopped to help
transport us and the remaining luggage that survived," Joshua said.
When the group
arrived in Atlanta, local Pathfinder clubs rallied around to help wash their
smoky clothes and donate new bags.
Pathfinders had spent the previous five days at the Oshkosh camporee, an event
organized every five years for tens of thousands of Adventist children aged 10
to 15 from around the world. The club members were on their way to Atlanta for
the second leg of their American tour.
The group has been
provided with another bus and continued on its journey.
The children return
to Britain on Sunday, Aug. 24.
British Union Conference website: “Holloway Pathfinder Club Coach Fire in USA”
News affiliate TMJ4-TV: “Bus Fire Disrupts Trip for Children Visiting from London” (with video)