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Quick-thinking bus driver evacuates students from a burning bus

23 students and a bus driver are safe today after the school bus they were in Friday morning caught fire. According to Cal Fire, they got a call just before 9:00 a.m. that a school bus was on fire at the intersection of Pierce Street and Avenue 66 in Thermal.

"it just speaks to the priority of our students is safety. And our drivers are trained to make sure that they can respond to these types of situations. And that's exactly what happened today," says Veronica Zepeda, Budget Director, CVUSD.

School officials say the bus was en route to Toro Canyon Middle School when it caught fire. The driver saw smoke coming from the rear of the bus, evacuated the students, the called for help shortly before the bus was engulfed in flames.

"All of our bus drivers receive training annual training minimum of 10 hours a year, and we have our own in-house trainers that provide the training," says Zepeda. "We also provided bus evacuation drills to all our school sites during the month of October." She says students also participate in the drill.

Zepeda says everyone is safe, and there were no injuries. Cal Fire says the driver was evaluated but refused any further treatment. The cause of the fire is still under investigation by the California Highway Patrol.

The Coachella Valley Unified School District confirmed to Newschannel 3, that there were 17 students aboard along with the driver.

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Rich Tarpening

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Miyoshi Price

Miyoshi joined KESQ News Channel 3 in April 2022. Learn more about Miyoshi here.


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