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School bus catches fire with 16 South Meck High students aboard

Sixteen South Mecklenburg High School students and a bus driver were safely evacuated after their bus caught fire on Thursday afternoon, Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools said.
Sixteen South Mecklenburg High School students and a bus driver were safely evacuated after their bus caught fire on Thursday afternoon, Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools said. WBTV

Sixteen South Mecklenburg High School students and a bus driver were safely evacuated after their bus caught fire on Thursday afternoon, Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools said.

Medic reported treating one patient for minor injuries from smoke inhalation and taking the person to Carolinas Medical Center.

The fire broke out on bus No. 364 at about 3:30 p.m. near the intersection of Eastway Drive and Central Avenue, CMS said in a statement.

CMS credited the bus driver’s “quick response” to the fire. “While in transit, the driver smelled smoke, immediately stopped the bus, evacuated all students safely and notified emergency services,” CMS said.

A replacement bus picked the students up and continued the route, according to CMS.

The front of the bus appeared to be heavily damaged, Observer news partner WBTV reported.

CMS Transportation is conducting a thorough investigation that will include a review of the inspection and maintenance records of the bus, CMS said.

“We are all grateful that every student and the driver are safe,” Superintendent Clayton Wilcox said. “The district trains bus drivers and CMS staff to respond in emergency situations, and the district is proud of the quick action of this driver and also thankful for the swift cooperation of students on board.

“The district holds the safety of all our kids and staff as top priority and will conduct a thorough review to ensure the continued safety of our CMS students and staff.”

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