A pregnant Milwaukee school bus driver has been hailed as a hero for evacuating dozens of children from a bus seconds before it burst into flames.
Driver Imnek Williams took about two hours on the usual Wednesday morning bus route to the Milwaukee Academy of Sciences with 37 students from kindergarten to high school. WISN reported.
All of a sudden, just half a mile from the school, “I started smelling something strange,” she said.
“I always smelled smoke and strange smells and thought it was normal smoke coming from other cars,” Williams told WISN. “But as I started driving further, the smell and smoke started to thicken.”
With the school just around the corner, she considered ignoring the problem, but instead decided to save her life and pull over.
“I told the kids, ‘Let’s get off,'” she said. “I evacuated the bus, made sure everyone was off, lined up for the gate, and when I got off the bus I quickly turned around and the bus was just… in flames. ”
Footage obtained by the news agency shows smoke and flames billowing from front to back from the charred yellow school bus as firefighters plug a water hose through one of the windows.
Milwaukee authorities initially reported there were no children on board at the time of the fire, according to WISN.
After the fire, Williams was taken to a local hospital to check on her baby, who was due in August. Both were found to be healthy.
Since the incident, students and school officials have expressed gratitude for Williams’ resourcefulness.
“It was really nice to get it off without anyone getting hurt,” she said. “That’s my biggest concern because if it were my child on the bus, I would want the bus driver to do the exact same thing.”
The next morning she was already back on route to pick up the children.
“They didn’t actually expect to see me,” Williams told the magazine. “They were like, ‘Oh, you’re here again?'” You didn’t get burned? ’ I said, ‘No, I’m still here. “
Officials said the cause of the fire is still under investigation.