UPPER TWP., New Jersey (WPVI) — No students were injured when flames ravaged a school bus on the Garden State Parkway in South Jersey.

The call came in around 2:34 p.m. Wednesday for a fire near mile marker 20.6 in Upper Township.

Officials tell Action News that 10 students and a bus driver were all able to escape the flames.

Ocean City School District officials say the students are from the Intermediate School and were heading home to Sea Isle City.

Flames engulf school bus in Upper Township, NJ on Garden State Parkway; 10 students and driver uninjured

“We want to thank everyone for their quick thinking and smart response during today’s incident. The students acted swiftly and calmly as they followed the driver’s directions to exit the bus as soon as a problem was identified. They should be commended, and we are thankful that everyone is safe,” said School Business Administrator Timothy Kelley in a statement.

Thirteen-year-old Regan Capone was one of those students who smelled the smoke and heard a loud bang.

“We smelled it and saw it, so we got off. It was kinda all fast,” said Capone.

And Lauren Oliver’s 14-year-old son Gavin quickly called 911.

“That was really quite frightening, and it was within moments that they got off that it went into flames,” said the boy’s mother. “They lost their things in the fire obviously, like their backpacks and favorite sweatshirts and sports equipment.”

“It’s every parent’s worst nightmare because you don’t know where they’re sitting on the bus, you don’t know where they’re at. It’s very scary,” added Regan Capone’s father, Kevin.

The Sheppard Bus driver is being hailed as a hero. In a letter to the school community, Intermediate School Principal Michael Mattina commended her actions and quicky thinking, saying, “She was a true hero and showed the utmost care for our students, making sure they were all safe after exiting the bus. As she said while speaking with the New Jersey State Police this afternoon, ‘These are my kids too.'”

The Intermediate School will have counselors available Thursday if any student is in need of services.

The cause of the fire remains under investigation by the Cape May County Fire Marshals office and the New Jersey State Police.

Copyright © 2024 WPVI-TV. All Rights Reserved.

6abc Digital Staff

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