Students escape burning bus

A bus burns Wednesday morning in Edgecombe County (Image courtesy WITN)
May 11, 2011 4:46:11 PM PDT
School officials credit the quick action of a driver for getting nearly 40 students off a burning school bus.

Edgecombe County Public Schools spokesperson Diane LeFiles said School Bus 347 caught fire on the way to Coker-Wimberly Elementary School Wednesday morning.

LeFiles said bus driver Penny Cooper got 39 students on board off as quickly as possible. She immediately pulled into a parking area of the Sandy Acres Mobile Home Park on West Logsboro Road and directed the students to evacuate through the front door of the bus.

"We are very proud of Ms. Cooper and the children who all followed the emergency procedures they have practiced in drills at school," said Coker-Wimberly principal Lisa Howell. "It was a scary situation for our young students, but they remained calm and moved quickly to evacuate the bus. We are grateful that no one was hurt."

Investigators say it appears the fire began in an air-conditioning unit. The bus is a complete loss.

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