A laughter-filled bus ride home last Wednesday turned into a chaotic rolling inferno. That’s what happened in New Haven when a First Student bus from Conte West Hills School carrying 11 young students erupted in flames.
“It was a lot of smoke,” said Ryan Cheek, a good Samaritan traveling behind the bus. “You would think that it was a house fire,” he explained.
Cheek was in the area purely by happenstance when he noticed trouble.
“I got out of work early that day. There was a reason why and it was to save those kids.”
The New Haven native is being praised as a hero for ignoring the danger to himself while rescuing students on the bus, some as young as five-years-old. Cheek jumped into action, pulling students one-by-one through the back emergency door of the bus, he recounted.
“I didn’t think twice about it. I just knew that these are somebody’s kids. This is the next generation. Somebody needs to do something and, so I took the initiative to do what I needed to do to save those kids,” Cheek told News 8’s Mario Boone.
Fortunately, all the kids made it off the bus unhurt. A spokesman for New Haven Public Schools thanked all who assisted in getting the children to safety. First Student, Inc. declined to make the bus driver available to be interviewed.
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