Driver gets kids off school bus before fire

8:14 PM, Nov 20, 2013   |    comments
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Forest Hills

GRAND RAPIDS TOWNSHIP, Mich. (WZZM) -- A quick-thinking Forest Hills bus driver was able to get several students off her bus before it went up in flames.

The driver was picking up students near the Forest hills aquatic center when she noticed smoke coming from the engine.

"Not being able to evaluate what the problem was, she erred on the side of safety, which is part of their training," explained Forest Hills Public Schools transportation supervisor Darryl Hofstra. "She got them off safely and away from the bus."

The driver called 911 and asked the garage to send a new bus so she could complete her route. Moments later, the engine compartment went up in flames. It quickly burned through the fiberglass hood.

There's no word yet, on what sparked the fire. "We will be going over the bus with a fire investigator to determine the cause, where it started," said Hofstra.

The district will also be in contact with the manufacturer to see about recalls or previous fires with the Thomas 2005 Saf T Liner C2 school bus. There are 10 others just like it in the district's fleet of 90 buses. "We are taking all the other buses like this, out of service until we determine what's been going on with this bus," said Hofstra.

The district has some slightly older models from 2002-2003 that are typically used for school trips and sporting events. Those will be put into regular service. Parents and students shouldn't notice a change.

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