Henderson students escape bus fire near Barstow, California - FOX5 Vegas - KVVU

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Henderson students escape bus fire near Barstow, California

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Henderson students escaped a bus fire on their way back from a field trip Friday. (Photos: Jose Carranza) Henderson students escaped a bus fire on their way back from a field trip Friday. (Photos: Jose Carranza)
BARSTOW, CA (FOX5) -

Thirty-five seventh-grade students from Sports Leadership and Management Academy in Henderson, along with parents, chaperones and a driver escaped a bus fire Friday afternoon near Barstow, California. The fire destroyed the bus and everything inside, but no one was hurt.

Vanessa Ortiz said her daughter, Breanah Lopez and husband Jose Carranza were on the bus. She said the kids left Henderson Wednesday to go to YMCA Camp Oakes in Big Bear, California. On the coach bus ride back Friday, parents said they smelled burnt rubber and cars were flagging down the driver. They heard a pop, and the driver pulled over. He got out of the bus to check out a flat tire, then people saw smoke, and everyone evacuated, parents said.

The California Highway Patrol said the bus fire happened in Lucerne Valley off of Camp Rock Road and State Highway 18, at 1:51 p.m.

The flames grew as the 19 boys and 16 girls watched all their belongings burn. Parents said those items included phones, souvenir sweatshirts from the camp and cameras, which were all stored in the back of the bus. 

"I’m grateful to have my child, to see all the kids. The teachers and chaperones did a good job," Ortiz said. "The driver didn’t know how to use the fire extinguisher. Parents had to help him."

"I'm disappointed our kids were put into that, but happy they aren’t hurt. Everyone is ok. (But I'm) sad for their belongings."

Students said they were on the side of the road near Victorville for two and a half hours. Ortiz said she and some parents who heard about the fire drove to a pre-planned stop in Barstow to pick up their kids. Other kids got on another bus, that sixth and eighth-graders were taking back to Henderson.

SLAM Academy "prepares students for post secondary studies and careers through an engaging educational program emphasizing sports leadership and management career preparation" according to its website. The camping trip cost $275 per student. The school is located at Russell Road and Stephanie Street. 

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