New Orleans School Bus Driver Evacuates Students Before Bus Explosion

The school bus started to lose power and smoke before bursting into flames moments after the driver evacuated all students onboard.

New Orleans School Bus Driver Evacuates Students Before Bus Explosion

Photo: flukesamed -

A New Orleans school bus driver evacuated nine students from a bus last week right before it burst into flames.

Kia Rousseve, a 28-year-old bus driver for Community Academies of New Orleans, was driving her usual route on March 13 when the vehicle started to lose power and smoke, Good Morning America reports.

“The bus started acting crazy and started jerking and going real, real slow,” she recalled. “As soon as I saw the bus smoking, my instinct was to get them off the bus.”

The incident was caught on a nearby security camera. In the footage, Rousseve is seen pulling over as a bystander runs over to tell her that flames were coming from underneath the bus. Rousseve said she turned off the bus, gathered the K-8 students, and evacuated them off and away from the bus.

Rousseve then did one final pass through the bus to ensure all students were removed. The vehicle became engulfed in flames and exploded moments after she got off the bus.

“I just had to stay calm for the kids because there was crying and running up the street, and I had to get them together, you know, make sure they were straight,” Rousseve said. “We could have lost our lives. That’s what I’ve been thinking a lot. Every time I look at the pictures and like, wow, my seat was the first thing that caught on fire.”

Community Academies said it conducted additional inspections of its entire fleet after the incident. Rousseve, who has been a school bus driver for three years and began working for the district in February, said she believes a faulty alternator is to blame for the fire.

Studies from the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) show almost 70% of bus fires are traced back to the engine, running gear, or tires, and 83% are from mechanical or electrical failures.

According to the U.S. Department of Transportation, there are 380 reportable school bus fires each year, resulting in over 30 injuries and $28 million in direct property damage.

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About the Author


Amy is Campus Safety’s Executive Editor. Prior to joining the editorial team in 2017, she worked in both events and digital marketing.

Amy has many close relatives and friends who are teachers, motivating her to learn and share as much as she can about campus security. She has a minor in education and has worked with children in several capacities, further deepening her passion for keeping students safe.

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