DUNCAN, S.C. — A school bus driver here was hailed for her actions to protect her passengers when her school bus caught fire on Wednesday morning.
District Five Schools of Spartanburg County said in a Facebook post (see below) that the incident occurred just after 7 a.m., as a bus operated by the district was transporting students to three schools. There were 56 elementary, intermediate, and high school students on board.
According to District Five, two ninth-grade students noticed smoke and alerted the school bus driver, Teresa Stroble, who then evacuated all of the passengers in less than one minute.
The Duncan Fire Department responded to the scene and put out the fire.
District officials praised Stroble, who also serves as a teacher assistant and has worked for District Five for seven years.
“[She] did exactly as she was trained and quickly and calmly evacuated all 56 students from the bus, and got them to a safe location,” District Five said in the Facebook post. “She is a true hero!” District Five Superintendent Scott Turner shared a similar assessment on Twitter: “Hero!! Ms. Teresa Stroble. She evacuated 56 students in under a minute. God bless her. So grateful for her quick action.”
Like other school buses in South Carolina, the bus that caught fire is owned by the state. District Five said that state-level staff members are investigating the cause of the fire.
A district spokeswoman told School Bus Fleet that the bus was a 1995 Thomas Built rear-engine model.
South Carolina has been working to update its school bus fleet, which is considered one of the oldest in the nation. In February, the state Department of Education acquired 26 new propane school buses to replace older diesel models.