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Injuries avoided in NE Minnesota school bus fire

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Fast actions by a driver and a police officer prevented injuries in a school bus fire Tuesday in Cloquet, the Duluth News Tribune reports.

Cloquet Middle School Principal Tom Brenner said a Cloquet Transit bus pulled up to the school to pick up a load of middle school basketball players at about 3 p.m. A number of players were on the bus when the driver reportedly noticed smoke and immediately evacuated the vehicle.

Following a 911 call from the bus dispatcher, the officer responded to the scene and found flames shooting out from under the hood.

After the officer doused the flames with an extinguisher, the fire reignited, and was eventually put out by the Cloquet Fire Department, the News Tribune said.

During the blaze, students leaving school were instructed to exit on the other side of the middle school building.

Northland's News Center said the bus suffered heavy damage in the fire.

Firefighters said the fire started in the bus' engine.

In September, a school bus driver and 40 students in River Falls, Wisconsin, narrowly escaped injuries after their bus caught fire en route to an elementary school, KARE reported.

After the evacuation, the driver went back into the vehicle to make sure all the students made it off the bus safely. He then escaped the bus using an emergency side door.

Fire crews extinguished the blaze at the scene.

According to the American School Bus Council, school buses are the safest mode of transportation in getting students to and from school. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration also said that school buses are also designed to be safer than passenger vehicles in avoiding crashes and preventing injury.

The National Safety Council offers safety tips for students getting on and off school buses.

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