Calgary school bus evacuated after catching fire

CALGARY – Firefighters are praising a local school bus driver for how well she handled a scary situation on Wednesday morning.

The driver was travelling near the intersection of 24 Avenue and 1 Street N.E. around 8 a.m. when her bus caught fire.

Officials say she realized something was wrong when she saw smoke coming from the vehicle’s dashboard.

The driver immediately stopped the Southland bus and helped the 11 students on board get out safely.

The driver’s employer is praising her quick thinking.

“We certainly do want to commend our driver for handling the situation as well as she did, “ says Southland general manager, Chris Castellarin. “She’s doing good, she’s calm relaxed and happy everything went as well as it did.

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Fire crews rushed to the scene and extinguished the fire, which had eaten away at the front portion of the vehicle.

The students from Colonel Irvine and Highwood schools, between the ages of eight to ten-years-old, were uninjured.

Another bus was brought in to transport the students to school.

Parents are left wondering how this could happen.

“It’s good to hear all the students got out safely, hopefully the bus driver was able to do what they could, “ says Shawna Duong. “But really the maintenance of the school buses, are the school boards really maintaining the school buses properly? Or what was the cause?” she asks.

Southland says that the driver did exactly what she’s trained to do.

“They’ve gone through that during initial training, then we also do some real-time exercises during the warmer months and it prepares them for a day like today, “ explains Castellarin.

Fire investigators are now looking into what caused the fire.