Driver of school bus that went up in flames is called hero

An Ohio school bus driver is being hailed as a hero after she evacuated students when the vehicle became engulfed in flames within minutes.
Caption
An Ohio school bus driver is being hailed as a hero after she evacuated students when the vehicle became engulfed in flames within minutes.

Credit: Journal-News

Credit: Journal-News

An Ohio school bus driver is being hailed as a hero for her clear-headed reaction Tuesday when the vehicle became engulfed in flames within minutes.

The veteran driver, who has asked school officials not to identify her, told the dispatcher to call the fire department and then ordered students to get off the bus using both the front and emergency rear exit door.

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Larry Osborne, manager of transportation for Madison Schools in Madison Township, Ohio, said the driver steered the bus off a rural Middletown-Germantown Road onto the grass as gray smoke began to rise from the bus hood. She was unable to travel more than 15 mph.

She directed more than two dozen students to stand a safe distance from the bus and then boarded the bus again, double checking that all students were off.

“There is a school bus on fire, like fully engulfed in flames on Middletown-Germantown Road, a man who called 911 at the time said. “There are flames shooting all over the place.”

“It could have been a catastrophe,” said Osborne. “But the driver’s training kicked in.”

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Madison Schools Resource Officer Kent Hall, who is also the township’s fire chief, was the first person at the fiery bus scene on Tuesday. When he arrived he didn’t know if the students were out safely.

“Heavy fire, smoke coming out of all the windows,” Hall said when asked what he saw. “Then I learned all the kids were safe on another bus.”

“I can tell you the bus driver did everything right and everyone is alive (because of that),” he said.

“Thanks to (the driver) everything worked like clock work in an emergency situation,” Osborne said.

Madison Township Fire Department and school district officials said the investigation into the fire that destroyed the bus, which was leased from the Petermann Bus Company and in use since 2009, remains under investigation by the company.

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