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Bus filled with children catches fire; no injuries

By Staff | Mar 18, 2015

A private school bus carrying over a dozen students caught on fire on Wednesday.

At 7:40 a.m., the Cape Coral Fire Department responded to a vehicle fire at Southeast Eighth Terrace and Southeast 16th Place. When fire crews arrived, they found the bus fully engulfed in flames.

Firefighters extinguished the fire within minutes, according to officials.

The bus was transporting 16 students from kindergarten to eighth grade to Cape Coral Preparatory and Fitness Academy, at 2107 Santa Barbara Blvd. The school uses a third-party transportation company.

As soon as the driver smelled something unusual, she pulled off to the side of the road and evacuated the students from the bus. The driver then escorted them a safe distance away from the vehicle.

Witnesses reported that the fire spread throughout the bus in just a couple of minutes.

No injuries were reported by the bus driver or students.

The cause appears to be a mechanical failure originating at the engine, according to officials.

The fire remained under investigation as of Wednesday afternoon.

“If she had hesitated or questioned whether or not she should have gotten the kids off the bus when she first smelled the odd odor, the outcome could have been very different,” acting Battalion Chief Mark Muerth said in a prepared statement. “Her clear thinking and quick actions ensured everyone’s safety.”