UPDATED 9:24 AM PT — Friday, May 24, 2019
A Rhode Island school bus driver is being called a hero for getting students to safety after flames consume the bus they were in.
On Wednesday afternoon, the unnamed hero and five students from Mount Saint Charles Academy were on their way home when the driver reportedly told police he felt the floorboards getting hot. Then he started to see smoke from the engine. He immediately knew something wasn’t right, which prompted him to pull over to take a look.
“That’s what he had reported, yes, that he felt the heat, pulled the bus over and that’s when he must have noticed the fire in the engine area,” said Capt. Joseph Robidoux of the Bellingham Fire Department.
The driver immediately started evacuating the students out and away from the burning bus before the flames took over.
Witnesses said the school bus was engulfed in flames within minutes, making it unrecognizable underneath all of the orange flames and black smoke.
“Within a moment it just went up into big flames — pretty scary, rattling to see, as a parent,” stated Jackie Thibodeau.
— Jason Law (@JasonLawNews) May 22, 2019
Fortunately, no one was injured. Some of the students were transferred from the scene to the Bellingham Police Department to be picked up by their parents.
Police said the driver’s decision to get the children off the bus may have saved lives.
“The bus driver was very very smart and to pull over stop in a safe area. got the kids off the bus and thankfully no one got hurt. he was shaken up but he was asking about the kids.he’s their hero he really is.”
According to officials, there was too much damage to determine what exactly caused the engine fire, but parents are just relieved their children are okay.