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Bus catches fire outside Chanhassen elementary school

A school spokesperson says students were just about to board when the driver smelled smoke and kept them off the bus.

CHANHASSEN, Minn. - An Eastern Carver County School District bus caught fire Friday afternoon outside Bluff Creek Elementary in Chanhassen.

A school spokesperson says the fire started as students were walking out of school.

"No students were on the bus at the time," spokesman Brett Johnson says.

"The driver smelled something and the bus was on fire."

Johnson says the driver immediately called dispatch and notified teachers nearby.

Students were brought to the other side of the school where they safely boarded their usual buses.

"An extra bus came to pick up students who ride the bus that caught fire," Johnson says.

Chanhassen firefighters responded to the call.

School officials say the fire started at the front of the bus and quickly moved down the aisle, as it shattered every window onboard and burned every bus seat down to its metal core.

"The front of the bus was like burning, and some of the windows were on fire," 2nd grader Isaac Meyer says.

Meyer says one of his friends rides the bus that caught fire.

He was happy to hear she's okay.

"I just like, was anyone on that bus? Did the bus driver get off in time?" Meyer says.

His dad came a few minutes later to pick him up.

"Looks like it spread pretty quick," Tom Meyer says.

He's grateful none of the students were hurt.

"When it happened everyone knew exactly what to do and made sure all the kids were safe," Meyer says.

School officials were also grateful for the bus driver's quick thinking.

"We're fortunate the driver was aware and caught this," Johnson says.

KARE-11 News reached out to the school's bus company Positive Connections Inc. for comment, but our calls have not been returned at this time.

Johnson says school buses are required to go through yearly state inspections, as well as routine maintenance throughout the year.

"Drivers also do a pre-trip inspection," Johnson says.

Fire investigators are still trying to determine how the fire started.

(Credit: Mike Boyer)

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