ONLY ON 3: Mom says work for airline led to quick action in bus fire

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Submitted: Wed, 04/18/2012 - 8:56pm
Updated: Thu, 04/19/2012 - 8:09pm

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.


  • Andrew says:

    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.

  • Guest068 says:

    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.

  • Leland Gal says:

    Let’s just help Leland Middle school replace the items that were burnt and be glad that no one was hurt. Thank the Lord that everyone got off and was alive. Collect food and other items for pets and send to L M S.

  • Guest 10101 says:

    … you just have to ask yourself: “Will it really cost me anything to just shut up and not say something negative for a change?”

    The people on that bus did the right thing. If they get a few moments in the spotlight as a result of that, let them have it without raining on their parade.

  • Kathy H says:

    I guess the good news for you is that if you do ever skid in at 120mph andburst into flames at our airport, I’ll be out there to help you off.

  • Guest32 says:

    Geez you must be a grumpy old person to have a comment like that. This could have turned out very badly. Bet if your child was on this bus you would have commented different..

  • Commonsensenotcommontoday says:

    Go look up the definition of hero, then explain the personal risk these “heros” faced.

  • Commonsensenotcommontoday says:

    …perhaps we should ask how much heroism was required to say, “Okay, everybody off the bus.”

    It’s not like the bus came in at 120 mph, gear up, and skidded to a stop on it’s belly before bursting into flames. The bus had a malfunction, the driver pulled over, the fire started growing, everyone left the bus.

    I’m certainly glad that everyone got off safely, and I can appreciate the leadership role taken by those who immediately played a key part, but I don’t see much “heroism” involved.

  • Commonsensenotcommontoday says:

    …to pull me out, you’ll be a hero.

    If I’m standing there when you arrive and you simply say, “You need to move off the runway,” you’re not a hero.

    Dictionaries aren’t that expensive, people!

  • Guest461 says:

    …she simply felt lucky to be there and to assist with the evacuation. The airline training can be very beneficial in a situation like this. They were all there, keeping a cool head and got the kids off well ahead of disaster time. Not necessarily heroic, but definitely notable! My hat’s off to them all! Job well done!

  • Guestparent says:

    I’m just glad they stopped the dang bus and let the kids off! I almost had a heart attack when 12 minutes after the first text my child sent me saying there was smoke on the bus she was still on the smoking bus! People don’t realize how quickly they had to get them off that bus! They think a little smoke and the driver pulled over and everyone calmly walked off. I was on the other end of a phone line listening to those kid scream. They were terrified. And the driver could have stoped immediatley and prevented a situation where a PARENT had to “go into rescue mode” But I am sure glad someone did, because if it was up to the driver we would have a horrible story ion here of how lives were lost in a bus fire.

  • Guest112121 says:

    Well Ms. Hardie is very humble isn’t she?? Not!! Damn she thinks highly of herself. I think the driver of the bus deserves a lot of credit here

  • Guest461 says:

    …it was accurate. The adults on that bus simply kept a cool head and got the students off before disaster struck. It’s what they were supposed to do. Diesel fires rarely turn into immediate infernos and usually provide time for evacuation.
    Nobody has rained on their parade. They did the right thing and everyone is happy about that. The actions are quite noteworthy, but a bit shy of the “Hero” category.

  • Guestl;dgk;lrgk;er'lg'e;gh' says:

    Thats the problem in this world we live in… we are surprised by people doing the “right thing” that we have to not rain on their parade and give them a minute in the spotlight??? People we all should be doing the right thing everyday and we should not be seeking instant fame or recongnition for our good deeds and actions… Think of it wouldnt the world be a better place if we all just did what was right… Dont get me wrong I am very glad the kids and parents got of safely but I kinda think of it like a baseball team… when people work together good gets done… one person cannot act alone and win the game.. and more importantly I think we are all forgetting that God was probably the real hero here as he is everyday… sa

  • GuestMan says:

    Well said and very true.

  • Das Weibstück says:

    I sure am glad she was there or everyone would have just sat there screaming and burned to death………it was a school bus not a Airbus A380.

  • Kathy H says:

    Wow! There are truly alot of negative people out there just waiting to launch their bad behavior on anybody who tries to do anything good. I did the interview so that the public could see how well the evacuation went. I wanted to give the teachers and other parents involved in this a congratulations on a job well done. I cant help how the news media only played certain parts that made me look as though I wanted fame and glory for this. I wonder if all the parents of the students would want you helping their children?

  • concernedparent says:

    I wish as a parent that the bus driver would have had more sense and stopped the bus as soon as there was fire instead of continuing to drive along. These kids could have been burned alive. You people making rude comments have no idea how close these kids came to burning up because the driver DID NOT STOP! I for one am grateful to Kathy (be she humble or not) because she got our kids off that bus quickly and they did not have much time. When you are at work and your kid is sending you messages saying there bus is on fire the driver won’t stop, and she is gonna die then you judge the parents who did help even though they were not the ones who should have had that responsibility. I wish it was the driver who was the hero then I would be able to put my child on a bus with peace of mind. The county did tell me poilcy says you stop immediatley if the bus is smoking. But what good is policy if no one follows it???

  • Guest211 says:


  • James Buckley says:

    wow how much is this woman in love with herself she the type of person that runs for the camera look at me look at me im a hero. i do like how she said she went into rescue mode, i did not know some one was trapped on the bus that was not mentioned in the article should have been i went into evacuation mode not rescue lady get over yourself you are just a glorified waitress now get me a soda

  • Guestkslnflknflekwnfm says:

    So hilarious… some people are sooo willing to toot their own horn.. Funny most “heros” are considered “heros” becuase they do things not for the recognition but becuase its the right thing to do… Most of them do not go around bragging about being one… but some people are juse self centered and feel like they are always perfect and number one… guess we have met one..of maybe some of you already knew her.. LOL

  • wooduck says:

    too many school bus fires. don’t understand why this isn’t investigated and solved?

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