PICKENS COUNTY—Quick response from a local bus driver helps to avoid disaster on the first day of school Tuesday morning.
Students are safe after a school bus caught fire on the way to three area schools.
“At around 7 a.m. (bus driver) Pam Pierce was turning from Sonora Drive onto Saluda Dam Road,” said School District of Pickens County Public Information Director John Eby. “She heard a popping noise and then saw smoke coming from the engine area. She immediately stopped the bus, and evacuated all the kids. They all got off safely, and were moved away from the bus. The bus then started to burn.”
Officials said the bus driver’s actions were heroic.
“We want to thank the driver for her great work in getting the students out safely,” said Aaron Boyles, District Coordinator of Transportation said, “I’m very proud of our Easley driver, Pam Pierce. She very calmly evacuated the bus and moved the students out of harm’s way. We think she’s a hero. Thanks to Pam’s quick thinking we are so grateful that no one was injured.”
Eby said the Peirce, who had 18 students on the bus from Crosswell Elementary School, Gettys Middle School, and Easley High School, could not have followed emergency protocol any better.
“She followed procedure,” said Eby. “She responded exactly the way the way she was supposed to.”
Eby says the students waited to be picked up by another bus while watching the blaze.
“I know the students were still there when it was on fire,” said Eby. “They got on another bus and went to school. There were no injuries.”
At this time it appears that a mechanical problem started the fire.
“The bus is a loss,” said Eby.