School Bus Carrying Kids With Special Needs Bursts Into Flames on Long Island

A small school bus carrying kids with special needs burst into flames on Long Island Monday, and photos from the scene showed a charred vehicle carcass in the street after firefighters doused the flames. 

Six kids were on the bus at the time, but no one was hurt, authorities say. 

The driver had pulled over on Bennett Avenue after seeing some smoke. The kids were taken safely off the bus and were waiting for another vehicle to transport them when their first ride burst into fire. 

"Before you know it, it just went up in flames," said witness Sandy Lyons. "Window shattered, flames up." 

Nine-year-old Nylah Lyons wasn't on the bus but she saw it catch fire right outside her home. 

"At one point it just went like 'pop,' like something popped. It was scary," she said. 

"You needed to put something around your face because I know that smoke was not good to breathe in," she said. "The flames were going up in the air, it was smoky you couldn't see our house." 

The bus was headed to the Family Residences and Essential Enterprises School in Old Bethpage. A school representative told News 4 that the students did make it to school eventually and were uninjured. Witnesses say that's thanks to the quick-thinking driver. 

"He's a hero," said Nylah. "'Cause he could have thought, 'Oh, hey, it's nothing, we'll keep driving.' But, no. Good thing he took everybody out." 

It's not clear what caused the fire. News 12 Long Island posted a photo of the gutted bus. 

The bus company, Guardian, told News 4 in a statement Tuesday it is cooperating with authorities in the investigation of the fire. Director Corey Muirhead said all its buses are inspected twice a year and comply with state Department of Transportation regulations.

"We are proud to employ employees like the driver involved in yesterday’s incident, and we thank him for his bravery and ability to follow proper protocol to ensure the safety of all the individuals he was transporting," said Corey Muirhead. 

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