by: Dan Tordjman Updated:CHARLOTTE, N.C.,None —
Lindora Richardson doesn't consider herself a hero.
"I was just doing my job," said the 37-year-old bus driver, a day after her bus caught fire.
Richardson was able to evacuate the bus and lead six children from Chantilly Montessori School to safety.
"I feel like the kids were heroes," Richardson said. "They stayed safe and calm under the whole situation, so I would call them the heroes."
Richardson said she first smelled trouble when she caught a whiff of a something burning coming from the bus near Bearmore Drive.
That burning smell led to smoke rising from under the steering column.
"I basically stopped the bus. As I saw the smoke, I knew it was time to get the kids and myself off of the bus," Richardson said.
She led the kids out the back of the bus, holding their hands and catching them as they jumped to safety.
Richardson credited her training and experience as a Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools bus driver for the past five years.
She was driving a bus Wednesday that has been in the CMS fleet since 1999, making it one of the district's oldest buses.
Fire investigators said an electrical wiring malfunction led to the fire.
CMS says it does routine maintenance on its buses every 5,000 miles, and all buses undergo monthly inspections. School officials would not release a maintenance history report on the us that caught fire, pending an investigation into the fire.