Perryville Elementary School bus driver Teresa Barker knew just what to do Monday when she smelled smoke inside bus No. 495.
Barker, who has been a driver for more than two years, pulled over on the side of Perryville Road and got all 19 elementary students off the bus and to the other side of a rock wall, out of harm’s way before the smoke became flames.
Mark Hoffman, Boyle County school system’s transportation manager, said Barker followed her training perfectly.
“She was taking the kids up from Perryville to McDowell Wellness (Center in Danville) to swim, and she smelled smoke,” he said. “She acted right away and got all the kids off safely before there was any flames.”
Hoffman said no cause has yet been determined for the fire in the 1995 International and that no previous problems have been reported in this bus or others like it. The fire appeared to have started in the diesel engine. An explosion is unlikely in diesel engines, he said.
Boyle County sheriff and fire departments responded, and the fire was quickly extinguished.
A replacement bus was dispatched to the scene, and the children were returned to school.