CHARLOTTE, N.C. — A school bus here with more than a dozen students on board burst into flames on Thursday after a fire started in the engine, investigators said.

The bus was taking students home from South Mecklenburg High School when they began to hear clicking sounds, ABC News reports. The driver smelled smoke, stopped the bus, and evacuated the students, officials from Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools told ABC News affiliate WSOC. Soon after, the engine exploded and burst into flames, according to ABC News. All 16 students and the driver evacuated the bus safely. One person was treated for smoke inhalation, according to the local news source.

A state inspector is investigating the cause of the fire. That investigation will include a review of the bus’s maintenance records and the inspection. The school district’s transportation maintenance staff conducted a routine 30-day inspection of the bus on Oct. 6, and the bus was put back into service after routine maintenance was completed, according to a statement from Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools obtained by WSOC.

Clayton Wilcox, the superintendent of the school district, said in the statement that the district is grateful that the students and driver are safe, and that it is proud of the quick action of the driver and for the quick cooperation of the students.

Watch video taken by a witness at the scene and sent to WSOC below.

About the author
Nicole Schlosser

Nicole Schlosser

Former Executive Editor

Nicole was an editor and writer for School Bus Fleet. She previously worked as an editor and writer for Metro Magazine, School Bus Fleet's sister publication.

View Bio