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UPDATE 2: Children escape bus fire

Photo by Lora Bakke James
Forty children were safely evacuated from a River Falls School District bus Thursday morning after the snub-nosed coach caught fire while traveling Falcon Drive, just a few blocks from its destination of Greenwood Elementary School. School officials said driver Steve Linehan stopped his bus on Falcon Drive between Morgan Road and Ninth Street about 8:30 a.m. when he smelled smoke. Students were quickly evacuated as flames erupted and spread. A photograph snapped by a neighbor indicates the bus was fully involved before firefighters arrived and extinguished the blaze. Darlene McBride, executive assistant to Superintendent Jamie Benson, said another bus was sent to ferry students the remaining three blocks to school and Benson went to the scene. “Administrators responded to the scene to comfort students and to let them know that they were safe and that their parents would be notified,” wrote Benson in a letter sent to parents this afternoon.  “Students were then transported to their school site where they were met by principals and other staff to allow kids to help talk through the situation.” Benson concluded, “We are fortunate and blessed that due to the swift actions of our driver and the mature response from the students, we were able to avoid this incident from becoming much worse.”  
Jillian Dexheimer

Jillian Dexheimer has been a copy editor and reporter for the River Falls Journal since 2011. She previously worked for the River Falls Chamber of Commerce and Tourism Bureau. Dexheimer holds a sociology degree from UW-River Falls.