COLLEGE PARK, MARYLAND – A College Park, Maryland, school bus driver was hailed for her heroic actions after the bus she was driving caught fire Monday.
The fire was reported at about 4:45 p.m Monday along the 9600 block of 51st Avenue in College Park, according to Mark Brady, the public information officer for Prince George’s County, MD Fire and EMS Department.
Twenty children from Glenarden Woods Elementary School were on the bus when the blaze started, apparently originating near one of the rear wheels, he said.
The driver, identified by a parent as Reneita Smith, safely got each and every student off and away from danger, KTLA sister station WTVR reported.
She “was able to remain calm throughout the ordeal” as the vehicle was evacuated, according to Brady.
“A big THANK YOU to our school bus driver Reneita Smith who just saved 20 elementary school kids from a bus fire that completely destroyed the bus,” Fazlul Kabir posted on Facebook. “Reneita [not only] took each one of the 20 kids from the bus one by one, but also went into the empty bus again to check if everyone was out, while it was still burning.”
“I am a mom of two kids,” Kabir recalled Smith saying as the bus burned. “It’s my job to save them.”
No one on the bus was injured. Most of the kids were picked up from the scene by their parents, according to Brady.
Video captured by a Branchville Volunteer Fire Company firefighter’s dashboard camera showed smoke and flames coming from the empty school bus.
The fire was reported at about 4:45 p.m Monday along the 9600 block of 51st Avenue in College Park. The cause of the blaze remains under investigation.