University City bus caught fire while taking students off

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

The bus burst into flames Wednesday afternoon as Brittany Woods Middle School students were heading home. Jaidyn Conners, an 8th grader, was in the bus when the driver stopped near Lynn and Lamb Avenue when smoke billowed from under the bus’s hood.

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

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

“This could have been a completely different outcome. We can truly mourn the loss of our children. It was so quick so I’m grateful,” said Danna Conners. “I feel like a better emergency plan needs to be put in place because I have yet to receive word from the district and I have yet to receive news from transportation. I have talked to other parents with children on the bus and no one has contacted us.”

The heat combined with the large fire forced the fire department to deploy more manpower. Battalion Commander Jon Bollinger of the University City Fire Department said smoke appeared that it “could be a house fire just based on the amount of smoke generated from that fire.”

It took two crews to get it out. Bollinger believes the fire started in the engine compartment and entered the cabin.

Bollinger admitted the bus driver acted quickly.

“His first act was to stop what he was doing and get everyone to a safe place and that made our job that much easier,” he said.

News 4 received the following statement from the school district:

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