Woman Saves 20 Children From Burning Bus: “I’m Just A Mom”
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She may not have a cape, but she’s still a super hero.
On Monday, Reneita Smith of College Park, Maryland smelled something that wasn’t right and started to see sparks, so she sprang into action.
“I put the mic back down, undid my seat belt, jumped up, got my babies and got off,” Smith told ABC News. “Once we got off, neighbors kicked right into ‘Mommy mode,’ as I call it, and helped the kids get to a safe haven. When that was going on, I ran back onto the bus to make sure there was no children on the bus…By the time I got to the last step on the bus, it just went up in smoke.”
The fire was reported at about 4:45 p.m Monday along the 9600 block of 51st Avenue in College Park. The cause of the blaze remains under investigation although initial reports from firefighters say they believe defective brakes may be what started it.
All 20 of her students, ages 4 to 9, from Glenarden Woods Elementary School in Prince George’s County, made it to the street as neighbors rushed to put out the flames.
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“This fire was going too fast. I had a little extinguisher,” said Lucy Kilin. “It was too late. I couldn’t do anything.”
Smith said that she is protective of the children who ride her bus, as a mother of a 4-year-old child herself.
“As I’m driving that bus, they’re my babies,” she said. “I’m their mom until I drop them off to their biological moms. I am a mom of two kids, it’s my job to save them.”
“I have people calling me a hero, and I say that I’m just a mom.”
No one on the bus was injured. Most of the kids were picked up from the scene by their parents, according to Brady.
Video captured by a Branchville Volunteer Fire Company firefighter’s dashboard camera showed smoke and flames coming from the empty school bus.
“My biggest reward is my babies are safe,” says Smith.