CamdenNewJournal

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Security guards save bus fire passengers

Men rush to help as passers-by film drama on their phones

17 August, 2017 — By Tom Foot

Fire pics: @HippyMummyMac

TWO security guards at a Jewish cultural centre rushed to help passengers trapped on a burning bus – while passers-by stood filming on their smartphones.

Marius Asteika, 27, and his colleague Emilio Garcia, 36, leapt into action after they spotted a double decker in flames outside Finchley and Frognal overground station on Sunday. Mr Asteika, a former police officer in Lithuania who now guards the JW3 Centre in Finchley Road, said he was amazed that most people’s first thought was to get out their smartphones.

He said: “I was a police officer in Lithuania, so I suppose you react differently in situations like this. But it is amazing how everyone gets out their phones when something like this happens. It was a serious fire and people were scared, but everyone was on their phone.”

The two have-a-go heroes got a fire extinguisher from a nearby business and helped to put out the fire before the emergency services arrived.

Recalling the events, Mr Asteika said: “I was on my break when I heard the bang, and I just ran over there. The bus was filling up with smoke. The engine was on fire. I helped people get off the bus to the street. I told two women, ‘move, move’. My colleague and I worked as a team, with him stopping traffic while I helped evacuate the bus. We went one by one into the train station to get a fire extinguisher. I don’t know if they had one or not, but they said they couldn’t give us one.”

Footage of Mr Asteika’s colleague Mr Garcia was widely shared on social media.

Marius Asteika

The security guards, who work for SQR Security, were given a round of applause when they came into work on Monday morning.

The London Fire Brigade said it sent two fire engines to the scene at Finchley Road at 7.25pm and that the fire was put out after 10 minutes. A Transport for London spokesperson said: “No injuries were sustained by the passengers or driver and investigations into the cause of the incident are under way.”

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