Fire Breaks Out on Occupied School Bus in Fla.

MIAMI -- Firefighters battled a blaze on a school bus Tuesday afternoon in front of the American Airlines Arena. Moments after they left school, a bus carrying eight schoolgirls became an inferno. A bus driver was...


MIAMI --

Firefighters battled a blaze on a school bus Tuesday afternoon in front of the American Airlines Arena.

Moments after they left school, a bus carrying eight schoolgirls became an inferno. A bus driver was forced to pull over on Biscayne Boulevard and evacuate the school bus.

"First, there was this awful smell, and the bus driver said, 'OK, fire, fire -- everybody get out,'" said student Enid McCoughlin. "So he came behind and he opened the fire escape door in the back and we all filed out and within minutes, it was up in flames."

"It was screaming, yelling, crying, laughing -- every emotion, I guess, because we didn't know how to express it," said student Grace Hill.

Students credit the bus driver, as well as firefighters and police officers, for the fact that no one was injured.

"(The driver) said, 'Fire, fire,' and that's when we saw the smoke coming from the front. And then we moved and we got out really quick," said student Madeline Caceres.

Parents rushed to the scene, relieved to see that their children were safe.

"Apparently, the bus driver managed to get them out just in time. He let them out the back door like he's supposed to and got them out, so the guy's a real hero," said parent Robin Hill.

Fire investigators said they planned to examine the bus's maintenance log to see if work was done on the bus or if it had problems recently.

"Life is a really fragile thing. It's really fragile, and you're here one minute and you could be gone the next," Robin Hill said.

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