KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (WVLT) UPDATE: The Alcoa Fire Department Chief Roger Robinson tells Local 8 News the brakes on the bus overheated which started a fire in the fender well of the bus.
Parents and children were shocked to see their school bus burn down in flames earlier Monday morning. Their bus which was supposed to provide secure passage- suddenly became anything but safe.
The mother of a child who was on the bus broke down in tears remembering what happened earlier that morning. "You know to think that it would have been my last morning with my son, getting him ready for the bus stop. it's kind of unbearable" Amanda Cothern said.
Fear and shock are not enough to describe what parents and children felt Monday morning. One fourth grader describes it as "one big gunshot Everybody moved and jumped and jerked a little bit and then the bus went like that" Fourth grader Cesar Perez said.
The Alcoa School bus was almost finished with its route with twenty nine children on board ranging from elementary to high school when everyone heard a loud noise and the school bus driver asked two older children to check the outside of the bus.
"They came back and told him that the back of the bus was on fire and then Bud made sure that everyone got off safely and he was making sure to be the last to make sure everyone gets off the bus" Third grader Damien Cothern said.
"I was feeling like oh my gosh I'm going to die I'm going to die, but then when I saw all the cops and the ambulance and the fire trucks come zooming past I was like, what a relief!" Perez said.
Parents and children are praising the quick reaction of the school bus driver known as "Buddy".
"Everyone heard the pop but the fact that he didn't ignore the kids or think that they were playing a joke, that he listened and acted." Amanda Cothern said.
"I would say he's a real good bus driver. God bless him and I want to thank him for making sure that we're safe." Damien Cothern said.