“When I’m driving them, you’re my children until I drop you off to your biological parents,” the bus driver, Renita Smith, said.
People are calling this school bus driver a hero after she saved 20 elementary school children from a raging bus fire Monday afternoon in College Park, Maryland.
The driver, Renita Smith, told ABC News the bus began smoking after the third or fourth stop of the day. She grabbed her radio to call for help, but then saw flames in the rear-view mirror. That's when she went into “mommy mode,” she said.
“I put the mic back down, undid my seatbelt, jumped up, got my babies and got off,” Smith said.
And not only did she evacuate the children — she went back in the bus, as it was being engulfed by flames, to make sure no one was left behind.
“We did a group hug, the tears started rolling,” Smith, who is a mother of two, said. “But me as mommy, no, I have to be strong for the babies.”
The fire “completely destroyed” the bus, according to Fazlul Kabir, an onlooker who went to help.
Everyone made it off the bus unharmed and uninjured.
The cause of the fire is not yet known, but is thought to have started “near one of the rear wheels” before spreading to the rest of the bus, authorities said.