A bus driver for Richfield Public Schools is being credited with safely evacuating a sports team and coach after the bus caught fire Monday afternoon on an interstate in Maplewood.
The fire forced the bus to pull over shortly before 3:30 p.m. along northbound I-494 near Bailey Road, according to the State Patrol.
A Minnesota Department of Transportation traffic camera showed many students standing outside the vehicle as gray smoke billowed skyward and orange flames swallowed the engine compartment. No one was injured.
The bus was carrying the Richfield Middle School’s seventh-grade boys basketball team to a game in Maplewood, the district said. “The driver smelled smoke and saw smoke coming through the bus vents,” it said in a statement. “He immediately pulled over and evacuated the students.”
Superintendent Steven Unowsky said the driver’s “swift and decisive” actions ensured students and staff were safe.
The district said the State Patrol is investigating the cause of the fire on the bus, which was four years old.