A Kansas City bus carrying 30 elementary students caught fire and could have put the lives of the children at risk if not for the decisive actions of the bus driver.
Bus driver D’ Anthony Gideon has been hailed as a hero for saving dozens of students. He recalled the incident that happened Thursday afternoon last week. He said:” I just immediately knew something was wrong. I’ve never been in a situation like that, and I had so many kids that were counting on me.”
The bus just caught fire. Thick black smoke engulfed the front end of the bus, blocking the main exit, with the smoke quickly seeping inside.
Gideon said: “For five, 10 seconds, I really panicked because I’ve never been in a situation like that. I radioed the base told them that I see smoke.”
The children inside the bus panicked. Gideon recalled the boys and girls screaming. He said: “They were frantic. When I told them we got to evacuate because of the fire, everybody kind of ran towards the middle.”
Gideon then yelled an instruction to a sixth grader to open the emergency back door on the bus so the trapped students can escape.
Gideon then walked from the front to the back and grabbing the chidren’s backpacks under the seats.
Now, the bus driver is being hailed a hero. Three years on the job, Gideon feels what he did was nothing out of the extra ordinary. He said: “Man, I’m just glad I got everyone out. I’m a normal guy.”
It’s a lucky coincidence that he took a driver safety course just two days before the bus caught fire.
Terrifying cellphone video of the blaze circulated quickly, sending several concerned parents running to the scene in the South Kansas City neighborhood.
It is not clear if authorities would investigate the cause of the fire, and if the bus company will be held accountable should there be lapses in the maintenance of the vehicle that may have led, or contributed, to the fire.
No one was reported hurt from the incident. It was not clear if the students sought medical tests for the incident as they may have inhaled smoke, or if they were simply sent home after being declared safe and sound from the incident.