• Driver helps students escape charter bus fire

    Updated:

    HENRY COUNTY, Ga. - An alert bus driver helped dozens of elementary school students escape minutes before the bus erupted into flames.

    Henry County firefighters say the fire started in the northbound lanes of Interstate 75 near exit 218.

    Channel 2 Action News’ cameras were there Friday evening as 51 elementary school kids and four adults boarded a bus and made their way back home after the frightening ordeal along the interstate.

    "They were traveling, I believe, from Jekyll Island on a school trip. It appears that the brakes or tires started the fire," Don Ash with the Henry County Emergency Operations Center told Channel 2’s Nefertiti Jaquez.

    Investigators said the bus driver smelled smoke, pulled over near Exit 218 and quickly got the children off the bus.

    “The bus diver knew exactly what to do. I can't say enough about the teachers or staffers that were on the bus. They immediately followed their plan,” Ash said.


    A plan that then included getting everyone to the Henry County Emergency Operations Center until another charter bus arrived to take them home.

    For a couple of hours Friday evening, the children’s book bags were sprawled on the sidewalk outside of the building as officials with the EOC worked to keep them occupied.

    "We've been entertaining them," Ash told Jaquez.

    Just before 8 p.m., another bus arrived to get the students, who were then taken to their school, where their parents were waiting to pick them up.

    Next Up: