Sat | Mar 25, 2017

13 schoolchildren escape injury as bus catches fire in Bermuda

Published:Wednesday | March 8, 2017 | 3:48 PM

HAMILTON, Bermuda (CMC):
At least 13 schoolchildren were pulled to safety after their school caught fire following an explosion on Wednesday.

“Everybody is calling me a hero, but I just did my job,” said Stacey Simmons who was driving the bus with children as young as five years old.

But he has been praised for his quick work in getting the schoolchildren out of the bus before it went up in giant flames and thick black smoke.

The incident happened near Khyber Pass in Warwick parish, as the bus travelled from the west end to Warwick Academy and Somersfield Academy.

According to Somersfield head of school, Carlos Symonds, the students said they smelt fuel on the bus, and opened the windows to let in fresh air.

A loud bang was then heard, with flames and smoke coming out of the back of the bus.

Acting Transport Minister Grant Gibbons praised Simmons, saying he was “happy that no one was hurt.

“We are told that the bus operator should be commended for quick action to evacuate the children to safety, as should members of the public who rendered assistance. I can assure the public that we will get to the bottom of the cause of this unfortunate incident.”

Recalling the incident on Wednesday, Simmons said he saw his cousin, who was riding a bike behind the bus, coming up to him exclaiming:  “Cousin, your bus is on fire.”

“I said to him, ‘No way’, but when I looked back that’s when I saw the smoke,” he added.