A school bus caught fire during the afternoon drive home in Saskatoon Tuesday.
Initial reports came in shortly before 4 p.m. of a fully-involved blaze on Macdermid Crescent in the Adelaide/Churchill neighbourhood.
Nine-year-old Faith Walker was onboard when the fire broke out.
“Before I got off the bus my friend noticed a weird smell,” she said, adding everyone exited out the back shortly after.
“There was smoke everywhere and then the bus was on fire… it was like campfire flames, but bigger.”
She said the fire took around two minutes to consume the bus.
Fire department officials confirmed Wednesday the blaze was caused by an electrical issue in the engine compartment.
Walker’s mother, Kristina Hughes, was on her way to pick up her daughter when she got the call. She arrived on the street to find the bus fully engulfed.
“As a parent it’s your worst nightmare,” she said. “To think what would have happened if they had still been on the bus when it caught fire.”
The bus driver, known as “Nels,” helped get four students off the bus to safety. Representatives from First Bus Lines declined to allow the driver to comment at the scene.
Firefighters were able to get the flames under control without damage to surrounding homes, and by 4:30 p.m. were managing a smouldering wreck.
The bus is considered a total loss, with damages pegged at $80,000.
— Chris Vandenbreekel (@Vandecision) February 14, 2017