January 13, 2012
Charlotte Mecklenburg Schools (CMS) bus driver Lindora Richardson will be honored today for her efforts in saving students aboard a school bus that started smoking then caught fire.
Charlotte Fire Chief Jon Hannan is expected to present Richardson with a certificate for her efforts, while the students aboard bus No. 295 also will be recognized for their quick response, CMS officials said in a news release.
The ceremony is set for 10 a.m. today at Chantilly Montessori School.
Richardson said she first smelled trouble when she caught a whiff of a burning smell coming from the bus near Bearmore Drive.
That burning smell led to smoke rising from under the steering column.
“I basically stopped the bus … as I saw the smoke, I knew it was time to get the kids and myself off of the bus,” said Richardson. She proceeded to help the kids off the back of the bus, holding their hands and catching them as they jumped out.
Richardson credited her training and experience as a Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools bus driver for the past five years.
“I was just doing my job, I feel like the kids were heroes. They stayed safe and calm under the whole situation, so I would call them the heroes”, Richardson said.
Also today, an inspector from Freightliner is expected to arrive to help determine the cause of the fire. The bus was the same make and model as other buses that have caught fire in recent years.
Officials have previously said they believe the fire was caused by a problem with a motor for a fan heater.
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