BELLINGHAM, Mass. — A school bus driver here is being credited for safely evacuating students from his school bus on Wednesday after the bus caught fire, police said.
The bus driver was transporting five students from Mount St. Charles Academy in Woonsocket, Rhode Island, at about 3:15 p.m., according to WPRI. He was driving down North Main St. in Bellingham when he felt the floor getting hot, and pulled over to take a look at the bus, which is owned by Valley Transportation Corp., Boston 25 News reports. Captain Joseph Robidoux of the Bellingham Fire Department told Boston 25 News that the driver reported that “that’s when he must have noticed the fire in the engine area.” He was able to get all the students off the bus before it became consumed by flames.
Robidoux told WPRI that it appears that a mechanical problem caused the fire.
Bellingham Police Department Sgt. Lee Rolls told Boston 25 News that the driver “may have saved lives” by pulling over when he did. The bus driver, who was “shaken up” and “asking about the kids,” police told the news source, is being called a hero by police for his quick thinking. Police also told Boston 25 News that the fire was “so intense” that it melted students’ backpacks.
Watch video posted on Twitter by Boston 25 News reporter Jason Law of the bus fire below. Law also reported in another tweet with video of the inside of the burnt bus that another bus driver told him that fires like this are “exactly why we don’t put seat belts” on buses, so students can escape the bus quickly.