Children evacuated through flames of burning school bus

PHILADELPHIA - November 7, 2013

Witnesses say a brave employee from a nearby daycare jumped into action to put the flames out.

The bus caught fire at 60th and Larchwood streets. Residents were alarmed by what they saw when the school bus turned the corner onto Larchwood.

"It's a school bus and it's completely in flames," said neighborhood resident Lorine Davis. Flames were pouring from under the hood of the bus, which was taking students to parochial schools in Delaware County. Not only were the flames alarming, but also the exit the driver used for the children.

Thomas Patterson, who witnessed the exit, tells us, "The bus turned the corner and was in flames and I was worried about the children. And they was coming through the front, in the flames, instead of coming out the backdoor."

The fire was in the front of the bus, but the children were evacuated through the front door instead of the rear emergency exit. Then to make matters worse, residents say the fire continued to burn with no sign of the fire department, despite repeated calls for help.

They say it was twenty minutes before a fire truck arrived.

Davis explains, "When the fire department finally got here we asked what took them so long. They said, 'Two trucks a day, we had to come from the 19th District.'"

Fortunately an employee at a nearby daycare center took matters into her own hands. She came running with a fire extinguisher.

"They're calling the fire department - no fire department. So someone at the daycare center was brave enough to go get a fire extinguisher from their building, put their life at risk, to try to put the fire out, which should not have happened," said Davis.

Fortunately, there were no one was injured in the incident.

Action News has reached out to the fire department to try to figure out the exactly when the call came in and the response time, but they have not returned our request.

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