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University City school bus catches fire as it drops off children

ST. LOUIS, Mo. (KMOV) — A drive home for University City students seemed routine until a school bus caught fire moments before everyone escaped just in time.

The bus went up in smoke on Wednesday afternoon as students from Brittany Woods Middle School were heading home. Eighth grade student Jaidyn Conners was on board when the driver pulled over near Lynn and Lamb avenues when smoke swirled under the hood of the bus.

“It was a bit scary because I didn’t know what I was going to do. I had to hurry and get off the bus,” Conners said.

Jaidyn’s mother, Dana, said she hasn’t heard a word from the school district since the scary storyline.

“It could have been a completely different outcome. We could have truly mourned the loss of our children. This fast so I’m so thankful,” Danna Conners said. “I think a better contingency plan needs to be put in place because at this time I still haven’t heard from the school district and I still haven’t heard from transportation. I spoke to other parents who had children who were on the bus and no one contacted us.

The heat combined with massive flames forced firefighters to send in more manpower. University City Fire Department Battalion Chief Jon Bollinger said the smoke appeared “could have been a house fire based on the amount of smoke produced from that single fire.”

It took two crews to put it out. Bollinger believes the fire started in the engine compartment and spread into the cabin.

Bollinger recognized the bus driver whose quick actions.

“His first action was to stop what he was doing and get everyone to safety and that makes our job a lot easier,” he said.

News 4 received the following statement from the school district:

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