Driver rushes students to safety as school bus catches fire in Kansas City

KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- It was a scary ride to school Tuesday morning for six Foreign Language Academy students. Their bus caught fire, forcing them out of it, and onto the street.

The fire happened around nine Tuesday morning near Armour and Wyandotte in Kansas City. Luckily no one was injured, and everyone got off the bus safely.

“We noticed the smoke coming out, we didn`t know where it was coming out of, and then we realized it was a school bus,” said Julia Pedrosa the Disaster Program Specialist at the American Red Cross.

It was a frightening morning for half-a-dozen elementary school students, and their bus driver. Witnesses say they ran to help, but the driver already had the kids safely off the bus.

“He did an amazing job getting those kids out of the bus as quickly as they did,” Pedrosa added. “The kids were fine, they were actually just saying, 'oh my gosh, our school bus caught fire' but I`m sure it`s a story they`ll tell their school friends.”

A bystander tried to put out the flames with a fire extinguisher, but the flames grew too quickly.

“We were so glad to see that none of the kids had any injuries, everybody seemed to be okay,” Pedrosa  said.

The fire happened near a building owned by the Red Cross. Employees stepped up to help keep the students calm.

“We decided it was best for the kids and their safety if they were inside our building, so we opened our doors, we gave the kids coloring books, crayons, water, and after a little while the parents and the school got here and took the kids back,” said Pedrosa.

The school district says employees and the bus company hold safety drills in case an emergency like this happens.

“They take a lot of time to review our process of making sure you`re identifying what is the safest route for those kids to be evacuating that bus, where should they go, your demeaner is very important, teaching them to stay calm, so the kids stay calm,” said Ray Weikal, the spokesperson for Kansas City Public Schools, “Unfortunately, because we`re dealing with large mechanical devices, that are driving a lot of miles... we`ve got a lot of buses on the road, every once in a while, something like this will happen.”

FOX4's Melissa Stern reached out to the bus company -- First Student -- to see if the bus driver, who many people are calling a hero, would be interested in doing an interview. He declined, saying he was simply doing his job.