A quick-thinking school bus driver moved everyone safely off a bus that caught fire Thursday morning in Brooklyn Park. The First Student bus was carrying students with special needs, two of whom were in wheelchairs, according to the Star Tribune.
The driver, a nurse and all of the Elm Creek Elementary School students aboard got out safely from the electrical fire, the newspaper reports. The bus driver then battled the flames with a fire extinguisher until fire crews arrived.
By that time, the “bus was pretty much gutted,” officials told the newspaper.
Osseo School District spokeswoman Barb Olson said the children were put on another bus and taken to school. There, staff made sure everyone was fine, Olson told the Star Tribune.
Investigators say the bus driver first detected the smoke inside the bus and then saw flames coming from the firewall toward the front of the vehicle. KSTP. Police Cmdr. Mark Bruley told the Star Tribune “The bus driver did a nice job. “He didn’t hesitate.”
Stephanie Creech, a First Student spokeswoman in Cincinnati, said drivers “are pretty well trained, so we expect that” they can handle these types of situations, according to the Star Tribune. Creech said the driver got the students in wheelchairs off the bus immediately and then got the other students off, before grabbing the fire extinguisher, KSTP says.
The driver, whose identity is not being disclosed, has worked with First Student for six years and “is a very good driver, highly regarded, particularly now,” Creech told the Star Tribune.