By Paul Tennant
NORTH READING — When several people saw what appeared to be a fire on a North Andover school bus early last Saturday afternoon, they called 911.
Andrew Coppola, of Peabody, was driving on Route 28 when he saw “a huge amount of smoke” heading toward him. He said he didn’t even see the bus until he got closer to it.
The bus was not on fire, however.
“It blew a radiator hose,” said John McCarthy, president of North Reading Transportation Co., which owns the bus.
The driver pulled into a parking lot and everyone on the bus, mostly children ages 9 or 10, exited, Coppola said. Fire Capt. Don Stats said that although firefighters responded, they didn’t have to do anything because there was no fire.
Several people called 911 and reported there was a fire, police said. Because the sides of the bus have North Andover Public Schools inscribed on them, some people may have wondered why a vehicle from that town was in North Reading after Christmas vacation had begun.
The bus was carrying youth hockey players from North Andover, Stats said. Another bus came and took them to their destination, he said.