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Long IslandSuffolk

Police: School minibus crash sparks fire

Off-duty NYPD transit Officer Christopher Canale took this

Off-duty NYPD transit Officer Christopher Canale took this photo after he helped a driver and aide get out safely from a burning school minibus on Thursday, Oct. 8, 2015, on the Long Island Expressway in Manorville. Photo Credit: Christopher Canale

A school minibus hit the back of a box truck and caught fire Thursday afternoon on the Long Island Expressway in Manorville, Suffolk County police said.

The two people on the bus -- the driver and an aide -- escaped serious injury, according to police.

Police received a call about a bus on fire near Exit 70 about 1:30 p.m. Firefighters extinguished the blaze, which destroyed the vehicle.

The LIE's westbound lanes were closed for about 20 minutes, according to the state Department of Transportation.

Christopher Canale, an off-duty NYPD transit officer, said he was headed home with his wife and son when they saw the burning bus and pulled over.

Canale, 33, of Farmingville, said the front part of the bus was engulfed in flames. "I was thinking kids could be in the bus," he said. "I got two boys of my own."

Canale said he ran to the bus and opened the side door, then helped the driver and aide get out safely.

The aide suffered minor injuries, police said.

Further details on the accident were not available.

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