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BRUNSWICK COUNTY, NC (WWAY) — A Brunswick County bus driver was called a hero after everyone escape unharmed from a bus fire yesterday. Today, some people say there were other heroes on board who helped get everyone to safety.

The quick thinking of one parent chaperone may have saved a busload of children after she realized the bus they were riding on was on fire.

“We couldn’t have evacuated the bus more perfectly, and we got the kids off of there very fast,” Kathy Hardie said.

Video Hardie shot Tuesday of the activity bus she and 40 children and adults from Leland Middle School were riding to a field trip shows just how bad the fire was.

She Hardie says she heard a loud pop and then smelled smoke on board. The bus stopped, and she looked underneath spotting flames.

Hardie says she thinks she was meant to be on the bus with her daughter to help with the evacuation.

“I’m sure that they would have gotten the kids off safely, but I was definitely put in the right place at the right time,” Hardie said. “I just worry if I had not been there to see the fire what could have happened. I’m sure they would have discovered there was fire, but the fire came on so quickly.”

Hardie says she instantly went into rescue mode, and she says she knows why that was her first instinct.

“I work with an airline at Wilmington International Airport, and all the training that I’ve had with my airline experience is how to evacuate people, how to assess an emergency situation, and truthfully it just all kicked in.”

Hardie says other chaperones and teachers moved quickly to make sure every student was safe.

The students were on their way to the Paw’s Place animal shelter. They had collected blankets, food and toys for the dogs there. Most of it was lost in the fire.

Comment on this Story

  • Guest068

    really people…there’s so much trouble in the world… negitive comments on this platform shows your ignorant… the hostility and lack of respect in your words directed to this interview makes you (to keep it clean) faceless internet thugs … Ms. Hardie is your neighbor. She conducted herself in a professional manner keeping kids calm and orderly and out of harms way. light a match and put it out with your fingertips you you you proactive tough guy hero behind your keyboard. Interview editing has a great deal to do with your preception. This report is a breath of fresh air rather than a bus load of children with lungs filled with choking black smoke, dripping skin…and graveyard grief… a holacaustic experience averted that would clearly destroy lives long after this story fades.
    What if you were one child that was unfortunate enough to have panic take hold and fall while trying to escape…burned alive and unfortunate enough to survive? You have no idea the pain and suffering…… Are you wishing for such evil? Any derogatory comments ignoramousasszzzzz…?? :-(x)get a life.

  • Andrew

    i know kathy personally, and she is the type of person that would do anything for anyone. She is a kind hearted, simple, humble person always looking for ways to make a difference in peoples lives. I wish you would know her as I do, and realize she was just acting on a mothers instinct, and not as a hero. If it were your child on that bus, your thinking would be different over this situation. Kathy just wanted to make known to the public the seriousness of this situation, and her role that she played in this. In no way was she implying or claiming to be a hero. If you were ever in need, you can bet she would jump in and help you and not even think about it twice. So for those of you that just want to critisize her, you dont make your balloon any bigger by busting somebody elses. I am very proud to call kathy my friend.

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