PORT CHARLOTTE, Fla. — A school bus team was honored for safely evacuating more than a dozen special-needs passengers when their bus caught on fire last month.
The incident took place on Aug. 23 in Port Charlotte, north of Fort Myers, on a Charlotte County Public Schools bus. According to NBC2, there were 14 special-needs students, ranging in age from 5 to 21, on board when fire broke out in the engine compartment.
School bus driver Vincent Adamo and an aide quickly took action. Adamo told Wink News that he “shut the bus down and we started getting all the kids off.”
Neighbors also stepped in to help. Anjelica Romero told Wink News that she called 911 and then, “I just had kids handed to me left and right and had a porch full of children. And before you know it, we had all the kids off the bus.”
No injuries were reported in the incident. At least one of the students was in a wheelchair, and that boy’s mother expressed her gratitude for the actions of the school bus team.
“They unstrapped him, they picked him up, and they carried him off that bus,” Lisa Alvarez told Wink News. “I’m so grateful.”
On Sept. 2, a celebration was held in Port Charlotte to recognize those who helped save the students from the school bus fire, Wink News reports. Charlotte County Commissioner Stephen Deutsch presented certificates of appreciation.
Adamo, the school bus driver, told Wink News that he was glad they were able to prevent a tragic outcome.
“They lost a couple of backpacks, but that can all be replaced,” Adamo told the news source. “All the kids got off in time. No smoke inhalation, no burns. Everybody got out safe.”
The cause of the school bus fire was under investigation.