PLEASANT HILL, Iowa — Southeast Polk Community School District bus driver John Fothergill was praised earlier this week for safely evacuating students before his bus burst into flames.
KCCI reports that Fothergill was driving his bus on Monday afternoon when he noticed something wrong and ordered the students on board to evacuate.
Fothergill told the news source that he knew something was wrong under the hood of the bus and he planned to stop. He turned a corner and shut the bus off and then shortly thereafter, flames came up under the engine compartment onto the windshield.
He added that the students evacuated the bus under his instruction in an orderly fashion and that it took him “not any more than a minute” to empty the bus before it was engulfed by the fire.
Firefighters arrived a short time later and put out the flames.
"We would personally like to thank John Fothergill for doing a terrific job in handling a difficult situation and keeping the safety of our students first and foremost. We would also like thank [Director of Transportation] Dan Schultz and his office staff for getting extra buses out to the site and schools as quickly as possible to assist with additional transportation needs. Dan will begin an investigation of the cause [of the fire] as early as Monday evening. We are very thankful that no one was injured," district officials said in a statement.
The charred bus appears to be a total loss, according to KCCI.