RIVER FALLS, Wis. - A school bus driver narrowly escaped his bus after it started on fire Thursday morning en route to a River Falls elementary school.
WEAU Television reports that the driver pulled over and hustled 40 students off the bus after he noticed smoke. He went back in to make sure everyone had escaped then had to escape from a side emergency door when the fire spread.
Fortunately, no one was injured.
Fire crews were on the scene by that point and quickly put the blaze out. Another bus came, picked up the students and brought them to school.
Superintendent Jamie Benson says the students were able to call their parents. The district later sent out a message to let families know what had happened.
Benson says the engine is in the back of the bus, but that the fire started in the front. Early indications are that it's electrical in nature, but investigators are looking into the cause.
Here is the message the superintendent sent home.
This morning the River Falls School District had a bus catch fire while in the city of River Falls (near the corner of Falcon St. and 9th St.). This bus (route #15) was transporting elementary students and the driver safely evacuated all students off the bus.
All 40 students were placed on a new bus. Administrators responded to the scene to comfort students and to let them know that they were safe and that their parents would be notified.
Students were then transported to their school site where they were met by principals and other staff to allow kids to help talk through the situation. Parents were contacted by telephone.
The District will be sending an electronic notification to all K - 12 grade parents informing them of the incident to help avoid confusion as to which bus was involved and that all kids were safe.
We are fortunate and blessed that due to the swift actions of our driver and the mature response from the students, we were able to avoid this incident from becoming much worse.
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