By Jillian Sykes
(CNN) — School bus driver Imunek Williams was just two blocks away from dropping a group of students off at the Milwaukee Academy of Science on Wednesday morning when she suddenly smelled something burning. Minutes later, the bus was engulfed in flames.
Williams, 24, has been a bus driver for a little under a year. With a 1-year-old and another little one on the way, she credits her motherly instincts for what she did next.
“I had the driver window down and thought the smell was coming from another car at first but then the smoke started coming through my heater so I pulled over,” Williams told CNN. Putting her fears aside, Williams calmly evacuated all 37 students, ranging from elementary to high school, from the smoking bus. “Fifteen to 30 seconds after the last child got off the bus, I turned around and the bus was up in flames,” Williams said.
Some students pulled out their cellphones to record the blazing bus while others stood in shock until another bus came to take them to school.
First responders arrived on the scene, putting water hoses through the bus windows to put out the fire. Williams, who is expecting a baby boy in August, was transported to a local hospital as a precaution.
“I’m fine, the baby is fine. I’m just thankful I was able to help those kids,” she said. “If my son was on that bus, I would want the driver to protect the kids at all costs.”
Williams has received an outpouring of love and appreciation from her community. Thanks to her heroic act, all 37 bus riders involved are safe and out on summer vacation.
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