Pickens Co. school bus catches fire on 1st day of class - FOX Carolina 21

Pickens Co. school bus catches fire on 1st day of class

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An iWitness photo of the bus on fire. (Aug. 21, 2012/FOX Carolina iWitness James) An iWitness photo of the bus on fire. (Aug. 21, 2012/FOX Carolina iWitness James)
EASLEY, SC (FOX Carolina) -

A bus carrying 18 students headed to school for the first day in Pickens County caught fire Tuesday.

The school bus was turning from Sonora Drive onto Saluda Dam Road about 7 a.m. when the driver heard a popping noise and saw smoke coming from the engine, according to School District of Pickens County public information specialist John Eby.

The driver immediately stopped and safely evacuated the students who headed to Crosswell Elementary, Gettys Middle School and Easley High School.

"I'm very proud of our Easley driver, Pam Pierce," said Aaron Boyles, coordinator of transportation for SDPC. "She very calmly evacuated the bus and moved the students out of harm's way. We think she's a hero! Thanks to Pam's quick thinking we are so grateful that no one was injured."

Another bus was sent to pickup the children to take them on to school. No one was injured.

Eby said thus far, it appears that a mechanical problem started the fire.

The damaged bus, which is owned by the South Carolina Department of Education, was taken to the state's maintenance shop to determine what happened.

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