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.