WINDSOR, S.C. — A school bus driver here was praised for using her training and quick thinking when the bus’ engine started smoking and eventually caught fire while she was driving students home from school last week.
When a student who was seated in the back of the bus alerted Lena Scott that he smelled and saw smoke, she pulled the bus over and evacuated all 18 Oakwood Windsor Elementary School students from the bus, according to a press release from Aiken County Public School District. Within minutes of every student exiting the bus and sitting quietly, the bus caught fire.
Scott and her students are trained twice a year in bus safety and emergency evacuation procedures. She told the district that she wasn’t scared; she “stayed calm and went into ‘mama mode.’” Two of her grandchildren were also aboard the bus during the incident.
With Scott’s calm leadership and support from the fire department, all students escaped the incident without injury, district officials said.
Some, including the parents and grandparents of students on the bus, transportation and school district officials, are calling Scott a hero.
“I was just doing my job,” Scott told the district. “It was my kids who were outstandingly wonderful. They knew what to do and how to act; they didn’t panic or lose control. They were patient, calm and listened to me, their driver.”
Though she was without “Jack,” the name she’d given to “her bus,” Scott was back to work early the next morning.
“I wasn’t nervous at all, just eager to see ‘my children’ on the bus and be sure they were fine. And they were,” Scott said.
Watch a slideshow of photos of the fire from WJBF below.