How to donate to Red Cross Hurricane disaster relief

Driver’s quick thinking gets kids to safety as bus catches fire in Leawood

LEAWOOD, Kan. -- There were some frightening moments on the ride home from school for some metro students. A school bus caught fire in Leawood Friday afternoon.

Around 3 p.m. a school bus reportedly caught fire at W. 131st and High Drive in south Leawood.

Firefighters said the bus driver was able to smell smoke shortly after picking up two students. As the smell became stronger, she pulled the bus over and got everyone off the bus.

Someone called 911, and a short time later the bus was fully engulfed in flames.

Witnesses said the fire quickly took over the bus, and if not for the quick actions of the bus driver, it could have been much worse.

"The flames were violent. They just kept going; they would not stop," witness Elle Rohling said.

"Any time you see a bus on fire, you just immediately think there's gonna be something bad about it, so it's just amazing how well they did to get the fire out and get the kids off," witness Ron Clary said.

"Quick thinking, obviously, is the key to everything. Getting out, getting a safe distance, and getting the kids where they need to be to be safe," Leawood Fire Department Battalion Chief Jeremy Jones.

First responders said the driver and all children were able to safely get off the bus. No injuries were reported.

The cause of the fire is still under investigation.

A school bus burns near W. 131st and High Drive in Leawood on Friday. Photos by Jason Reif.

A school bus burns near W. 131st and High Drive in Leawood on Friday. Photos by Sandra Condon

A school bus burns near W. 131st and High Drive in Leawood on Friday. Photos by Sandra Condon