Tuesday 12 December 2017

Driver saves 11 children from bus blaze

The destroyed schoolbus at The Ridge, Old Leighlin, Co Carlow. Picture: Thomas Nolan
The destroyed schoolbus at The Ridge, Old Leighlin, Co Carlow. Picture: Thomas Nolan

Brian Byrne

A HEROIC bus driver saved the lives of 11 schoolchildren after their bus became engulfed in fire.

The bus was travelling through the town of Old Leighlin in Co Carlow at about 3.40 yesterday evening when the incident occurred.

It's understood that the bus had stopped momentarily to allow a child get off when the driver first noticed the flames.

He quickly evacuated the rest of the children, believed to be attending Old Leighlin National School, before the fire engulfed the vehicle.

Local fireman Gerard Guerin, who attended the scene, told the Irish Independent: "The bus had stopped to allow a child off at their house.

"As they were getting off the bus, the driver noticed smoke and flames appearing around the gear stick.

"He reacted quickly and moved all the children off the bus."

Mr Guerin confirmed that none of the children had been injured in the incident and that gardai and two units of the fire brigade from Bagenalstown arrived at the scene a short time later.

The fire was extinguished but by this stage it had completely destroyed the vehicle.

The children's parents were informed of the incident and also attended the scene. The Health and Safety Authority was notified.

The privately-owned 33-seater passenger bus had been contracted to Bus Eireann.

Gardai are due to carry out an examination of the vehicle to uncover whether there were suspicious circumstances surrounding the cause of the fire.

A spokesman for Bus Eireann said it had been informed of the incident and that it would be conducting its own investigation.

Irish Independent

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