BELLINGHAM, Mass. - A bus driver is being called a hero for getting students to safety after flames consumed the bus they were in.
The bus, carrying five students from Mount Saint Charles in Woonsocket, Rhode Island, Wednesday afternoon, was traveling down North Main Street in Bellingham when the driver felt the floorboards getting hot. He knew something wasn't right so he pulled over to take a look.
"That's what he had reported, yes, that he felt the heat, pulled the bus over and that's when he must have noticed the fire in the engine area," said Bellingham Fire Department Captain Joseph Robidoux.
The driver had time to get all of the students off safely before the flames took over.
By the time a neighbor hit record on his cellphone, the bus was unrecognizable, swallowed up by orange flames and black smoke.
Bellingham Police Sgt. Lee Rolls says the decision to pull over when he did may have saved lives.
"He was very, very smart to pull over and stop in a safe area. He got the kids off the bus and thankfully nobody got hurt," said Lee.
Hours later, Boston 25 News got a glimpse of what is left inside. Everything in the bus melted or burned, from the windows to the seat cushions.
Check out the inside of this Valley Transportation school bus after it caught fire this afternoon in Bellingham.— Jason Law (@JasonLawNews) May 22, 2019
No students were hurt. A driver on the lot told me, “This is exactly why we don’t put seatbelts” on buses so kids are able to make a quick escape. @boston25 pic.twitter.com/yo2uH5vJVu
The street and sidewalk are still covered in ash and black soot.
The students were all picked up by their parents. The bus driver is now being called a hero by police.
"He was shaken up, but he was asking about the kids, 'Make sure the kids are okay, make sure the kids are okay.' He's their hero. He really is," said Lee.
The bus is owned by Valley Transportation. We reached out for comment, but they would not speak with us.
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