A school bus driver in Duncan, S.C., is being applauded for swiftly and calmly leading dozens of children off her bus before it burst into flames.
Teresa Stroble was driving elementary, middle and high school students to local schools Tuesday, May 9, when two ninth-graders seated in the back alerted her to smoke. The bus driver of seven years, who also serves as a teaching assistant for District Five Schools of Spartanburg County, “did exactly as she was trained and quickly and calmly evacuated all 56 students from the bus and got them to a safe location,” the district said in a statement on its official Facebook page.
“She is a true hero!”
No one was injured in the incident and WSPA 7News reported Stroble immediately reported the fire to the transportation office, which alerted the fire department.
“We are so thankful for the quick action of the Duncan Fire Department in putting the fire out, and all district administrators who responded and helped with what could have been a very tragic situation,” the district’s statement said. “As all of our school buses are owned by the state of South Carolina, the investigation into what caused the fire is ongoing and will be completed by staff at the state level. We are so blessed that all of our students and Ms. Stroble are safe!”
Superintendent Scott Turner said when he pulled up to the scene and saw the charred bus, his heart sank.
“I went and consoled the driver because she did a wonderful job of evacuating 56 students in less than a minute,” he says. “I can’t praise her enough for the work that she did.”
District spokeswoman Melissa Robinette told the Coloradoan that Stroble rode with her regular bus riders during home drop-off Tuesday.
“She wanted to be on the bus that afternoon to reassure them,” Robinette said.
Stroble resumed driving the usual route Wednesday morning in a different bus.
Duncan Fire Chief Barry Frost told WSPA 7News the passenger area of the bus is being inspected since a heater is mounted under a seat there.