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Forum News Service, Published September 20 2013

Wisconsin children escape school bus fire

RIVER FALLS, Wis. -- Forty children were safely evacuated from a River Falls School District bus Thursday morning after the snub-nosed coach caught fire just a few blocks from its destination of Greenwood Elementary School.

School officials said driver Steve Linehan stopped his bus about 8:30 a.m. when he smelled smoke. Students were quickly evacuated as flames erupted and spread. A photograph snapped by a neighbor indicates the bus was fully involved before firefighters arrived and extinguished the blaze.

Darlene McBride, executive assistant to Superintendent Jamie Benson, said another bus was sent to ferry students the remaining three blocks to school and Benson went to the scene.

“Administrators responded to the scene to comfort students and to let them know that they were safe and that their parents would be notified,” Benson wrote in a letter sent to parents. “Students were then transported to their school site where they were met by principals and other staff to allow kids to help talk through the situation.”