A school bus driver has been hailed a hero after she successfully evacuated all 35 children when a school bus caught fire outside Rancho Santa Margarita Intermediate School Friday morning. According to fire officials, all 35 children managed to leave the bus safely and were uninjured.
The Orange County Register reported that the fire happened at around 8:15 a.m. Orange County Fire Authority (OCFA) firefighters were called to the Rancho Santa Margarita Intermediate School when the engine in the school bus caught fire.
THIS JUST IN: school bus catches fire in front of Rancho Santa Margarita Intermediate School pic.twitter.com/ZzkzuK6nsi
— Julie Sone (@ABC7JulieSone) March 27, 2015
Rancho Santa Margarita – At 815, a full size yellow bus caught fire in front of RSM Intermediate School. The fire was under control at 8:28 — OCFA PIO (@OCFA_PIO) March 27, 2015
According to OCFA Captain Steve Concialdi, the driver managed to get all the children safely off the bus in a cool and calm fashion and then attempted to extinguish the fire herself.
“Once all the students were off, she grabbed the fire extinguisher and attempted to put out the fire herself, but it was already too intense.”
Reportedly, after the school bus caught fire and was fully ablaze, the fire spread to a patch of vegetation close by, but firefighters had the situation under control by 8:28 a.m. To be on the safe side, all 1,325 seventh- and eighth-grade children at the school were, in the meantime, evacuated to a sports field close by.
Concialdi confirmed that all the students, both in and outside the bus, were safe and no one was injured in the incident, adding on Twitter that the bus driver is a hero.
RSM – The school is located at 21931 Alma Aldea. All the students are safe and no one is injured. The bus driver is a hero. — OCFA PIO (@OCFA_PIO) March 27, 2015
He added that two of the students required treatment by paramedics because they were emotionally upset after the school bus caught fire, but that they were not injured.
RSM – Two students are being treated by OCFA FFS/PMs because they are emotionally upset by the scene but they are not injured. — OCFA PIO (@OCFA_PIO) March 27, 2015
An email from the school’s principal, Richard Jameson said, “Emergency procedures were executed flawlessly, and students are now following their normal school schedule.” Investigations are continuing as officials as yet do not know what caused the fire in the engine compartment of the school bus.
Meanwhile, after school bus caught fire it suffered extensive damage, as can be seen from the images above. The NY Times quoted Concialdi as saying the fire burned from the engine into the first three rows on the bus. Apparently, the rest of the bus was damaged by smoke and is a total write-off.
In other related news, the Inquisitr reports the story of another school bus carrying grade school students that crashed into a suburban house.
[Image: Screengrab from Twitter video]