The quick actions of a driver from West Melbourne, Florida saved the lives of 40 students last week from a bus that caught fire.

Imagine Schools at West Melbourne, a chartered K-12 school, announced on Facebook last Tuesday that one of their school buses encountered an electrical issue. The bus driver-Janet O'Connell-immediately pulled over and evacuated the passengers-40 students of various ages up to 6th grade-in time before the bus began to blaze.

"We are blessed that everyone is safe. This is due to the quick actions of our driver, Ms. Janet, and the students. We are proud that our students showed how they are leaders of great character as they assisted one another," Imagine Schools said.

A Bus Driver & The Blazing School Bus

The school's announcement, which happened to be a shared post of the Palm Bay Fire Rescue, came with photos of the bus during and after the incident. One photo showed the bus being consumed by raging flames that emitted thick, black smoke. The next photo showed the firemen having extinguished the flames on a charred and skeletal bus. A third showed the anterior of the bus was badly damaged and burned since the fire started from the engine. The next photos showed what was left of the bus, particularly a preview of its burnt interiors.

As per the Palm Bay Fire Rescue, they dispatched their B-shift Station 3 crew at 3:30 p.m. on May 3 in response to the school bus fire. The crews arrived with the bus in a heavy fire but fortunately, all its passengers and the bus driver have already evacuated the bus. The fire rescue highlighted that no injuries were reported from the fire.

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Accordingly, the incident happened ten minutes after school dismissal. The school stressed in an interview with WKMG News 6 ClickOrlando that if not for O'Connell's split decision to evacuate the bus as soon as she saw smoke come out from the hood, all "40 kids might not have come home." O'Connell's heroic actions, however, did not come as a surprise to Imagine Schools of West Melbourne Principal Brian DeGonzague, who said that the former is known for always coming out of her way to help those in need.

''Ms. Janet, when there's a child in need, she steps up," DeGonzague revealed.

The principal disclosed that the fire destroyed the camera on the bus and the only video they have to document what happened came from Lori Chase who lived near where the incident happened. Chase took the footage after O'Connell had fully evacuated the bus, just in time the first flames appeared.

In addition, DeGonzague shared that O'Connell did not even file a leave from the terrifying incident and went to work the next day on a new bus. The principal said he has spoken to O'Connell about the incident, during which the heroic driver disclosed the reason behind her actions.

''When I spoke to her about it, she said, 'Brian, I did what I did because I love my kids.' She doesn't want the spotlight on her, but what she did was pretty incredible,'' DeGonzague recounted.

Parents Commend Heroic Bus Driver

The children's parents were first to express gratitude for O'Connell's heroic actions. Kristin Kowing, commenting on the school's post on the incident, stressed that she could not thank O'Connell enough for quickly getting her child and the rest of the children off the bus and keeping them safe. While Natacha Jackson called O'Connell a hero for getting everyone to safety including her little one.

Another parent, Ali Taylor, appreciated the bus driver's quick action to keep her son and his friends safe. Taylor shared that she witnessed how the bus caught fire and how the firefighters came to put it off. She repeatedly expressed her gratitude not only to O'Connell but to DeGonzague, as well.

Meanwhile, parent Allison Roman raised that O'Connell deserved an award for being a true hero in making her babies safe. Roman urged all parents the "need to email Brian and tell him she deserves an award!"

"Let's all make sure she gets an award! Stellar staff, so grateful!" Roman told Taylor in the comments.

To which, Taylor responded, "I'm definitely going to take my son shopping to buy her something to thank her."

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