Video Shows School Bus Consumed By Flames Just Moments After Students Escape

[Public/Screenshot/Facebook/Seaville Fire Rescue]

John Oyewale Contributor
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A school bus caught fire Wednesday afternoon in South Jersey soon after the students and driver escaped, authorities said.

The Seaville Fire and Rescue Company released a video and photographs showing the burning Sheppard bus and fire service personnel battling the raging flames and billows of smoke as part of their statement on the incident.

“[H]eavy fire was seen through out the bus” as the crew arrived at the scene on the Garden State Parkway, the Company announced in the statement. “All ten students and the bus driver had already safely exited.”

The Marmora Volunteer Fire Company said in a supporting statement that they provided additional manpower and water supply. The Seaville crew said they requested this in their statement.

The students attend the Ocean City School District’s Intermediate School and were on their way home to Sea Isle City, officials said, ABC6 Action News reported. Students reportedly smelled smoke issuing from within the bus and heard a loud bang going off.

“We smelled it and saw it, so we got off. It was kinda all fast,” Regan Capone, 13, told the outlet.

“It’s every parent’s worst nightmare because you don’t know where they’re sitting on the bus, you don’t know where they’re at. It’s very scary,” Kevin, Regan Capone’s father, told the outlet.

Another student, 14-year-old Gavin, reportedly called 911. “That was really quite frightening, and it was within moments that they got off that it went into flames,” Gavin’s mother, Lauren Oliver, told the outlet. “They lost their things in the fire obviously, like their backpacks and favorite sweatshirts and sports equipment.” (RELATED: School Bus Driver’s Hunch Rescues Nine Children From Fire: REPORT)

The school authorities hailed the driver as a hero.

“She was a true hero and showed the utmost care for our students, making sure they were all safe after exiting the bus. As she said while speaking with the New Jersey State Police this afternoon, ‘These are my kids too,'” Intermediate School Principal Michael Mattina wrote in a letter to the school community obtained by ABC6.

“We want to thank everyone for their quick thinking and smart response during today’s incident. The students acted swiftly and calmly as they followed the driver’s directions to exit the bus as soon as a problem was identified. They should be commended, and we are thankful that everyone is safe,” School Business Administrator Timothy Kelley said in a statement obtained by the outlet.

The school reportedly arranged counseling services should students need them.

The Cape May County Fire Marshals office and the New Jersey State Police are investigating the fire’s cause, ABC6 reported.