A bus driver is being hailed a hero after her bus caught on fire, prompting the evacuation of all 22 students on board at the time. She safely got every student to safety.
That Cape Coral bus driver heard a pop from the engine Friday morning, causing her to stop and evacuate the students.
It’s a sight no parent wants to see. The fire was captured on video from an onlooker at the scene.
The Lee County School bus featured in the video was number 1565, and it normally drops off students near Cultural Park Boulevard in Cape Coral.
The school district says a compressor locked up, causing the fire, and leaving a charred piece of the bus on the side of road.
“You can’t blame the bus driver for the bus and you can’t blame the school. As long as it’s been serviced, I’m good with it,” said Cape Coral resident Amy Ginsberg.
The bus’ last inspection was only two weeks ago.
The driver of that bus—Carmen Chavez—didn’t want to go on camera, but explains what went through her head in that moment.
“I was just doing my job. I was protecting the kids. I am responsible for them and they are like my own. I love my job,” Chavez said.
Firefighters at the scene put out the fire, and students were quickly taken to their destinations on another bus.
Ginsberg has a message for the driver after the harrowing ordeal.
“I’m grateful for her. There’s a lot of kids’ lives out there that she’s got on her hands. I’m happy,” she said.
The fire is being ruled accidental due to a mechanical failure.
After the incident, Chavez was already back on her route, “just doing her job”.