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Northwest Allen County Schools investigates bus fire

Northwest Allen County Schools is still trying to figure out what happened that caused one of their buses to catch fire Thursday afternoon.

Posted: Aug 24, 2018 6:25 PM
Updated: Aug 26, 2018 7:40 AM

FORT WAYNE, Ind. (WFFT)- Northwest Allen County Schools is still trying to figure out what happened that caused one of their buses to catch fire. The burned bus was one of 18 of the same make and model that are now being inspected. The school has a total of 88 buses.

"We do have spares we keep on hand thankfully for this reason," said NACS Chief Communications Officer Lizette Downey.

It was frightening moment for students escaping the fiery bus thursday afternoon.

"I was like oh my gosh we're going to die. I didn't know what was going to happen," said student Zoey Freeman.

There were 35 middle and high-schoolers on board. No one was hurt.

"If here's anything found we'll immediately rectify it, we're not going to wait until we get some formal finding," said Downey.

The bus driver back at work a day later in a replacement bus on his usual route. He couldn't speak on camera but the school is grateful he handled the scary situation well.

"He just did was he was directed to do, what he's been trained to do and felt like it was just part of his job."

The school district says students of all ages have to go through emergency evacuation training twice a year.

Students are told to sit and scoot out the back door. They have to stay 100 feet behind the bus and form into a group after escaping. They can also use the front door to escape.

Drivers must assign three students to assist, find a safe place for students to go after evacuating, give positive directions.

"We tend to focus more of time with our littler students and we will actually do that training during the school day so they have more time to adequately get them comfortable with their roles," said Downey.

Students who were on the burning bus said their bus driver was calm, which kept them calm as they evacuated. The students went through training in previous school years.

Kids in the district hadn't even gone through this year's training yet. Right now, it's not known when training will happen, but the school says it will happen soon.

"This time around, students are probably going to be more cautious than they have in recent times."

Some students report losing their backpacks in the fire, and the bus driver lost his cell phone. Fortunately, following procedures allowed everyone to get out alive.

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