Renita Smith is being hailed as a hero after the school bus driver saved 20 children from a fire.
Smith was transporting children, ranging from ages 4 to 9, from Glenarden Woods Elementary School and Robert Goddard Elementary School to their homes in College Park, Maryland. During her third drop-off Smith noticed the bus’s brake light came. Smith planned to investigate the problem at her next stop but she wasn’t able to get to her next destination.
“I thought I had time to get to the next stop,” Smith said, “which was maybe a block or two away, but that didn’t happen.”
From the time the brake light came on, Smith didn’t reach very far. By the time she reached the next stop sign she heard a loud beeping and started to smell smoke.
“We didn’t see the smoke but we could smell it … and the smell, I can’t explain it, was horrible, and the kids were saying, ‘Ms. Bus Driver, the bus is smoking,” Smith explained.
Smith stopped the bus and picked up her radio to call for a backup bus, but didn’t get a chance.
“When I picked up the radio and I looked through my side rear-view mirror, I saw the fire,” said Smith
This is when Smith sprang into action!
“I put the mic back down, undid my seatbelt, jumped up, got my babies and got off”. “Once the neighbors came out, and took the children as they got off to a safe haven, I ran back on the bus to make sure that there were no more kids on the bus.”
That selfless act is why Smith is being hailed as a hero. She wasn’t concerned about her safety at all; just the safety of her students, or “babies” as she calls them.
Smith credits the children for following their training and getting off the bus in an orderly fashion. It was only after they were off the bus that the terrifying experience hit them.
Luckily no one was injured in the ordeal, thanks to this brave bus driver!