Quick thinking driver gets students off burning bus

- He’s a school bus hero.  A bus driver with Orange County Public Schools remained calm and cool, and got all the students off a bus safely, before it burst into flames. 

The bus was transporting students home from Piedmont Lakes Middle School when students on board started smelling a burning rubber smell.  Driver Allan Walker was driving the bus.  He called dispatch and checked his gauges, but they all read normal.  Then, he decided to turn off the bus engine, and he called dispatch again.  "I need someone to come, have a full load. I need somebody to come and get the kids off the bus," he said.

Walker helped the kids get off the bus calmly, and after they got on another bus, his became engulfed in the flames.  Walker has been a bus driver with the school district for 15 years.  He says years of safety training helped him know exactly what to do.  "Because of the training, that’s what makes it instinct."

Darla Auten is Walker’s boss.  She says he handled everything by the books and she says all the district’s drivers get the same training.  "Every year, they have to perform 40 hours of in service and that’s what we do in our fall conference the week prior to school starting."

On Friday, the school district completed inspections of 107 buses that had similar makes and models to the bus that caught fire.  Next week , an independent inspector will look over the whole bus, trying to find the cause of the fire. 

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