The charred remains of Kia Rousseve’s school bus – Kia Rousseve, released.

Some very successful comedic songwriters once said: “cool guys don’t look at explosions,” which turns out to apply equally to cool gals as well.

Schoolbus driver Kia Rousseve rescued a flock of children when her bus caught fire, and it wasn’t until she—the lost one off—took 8 or 9 steps before the front half exploded in flames.

Rewinding to the beginning of this everyday hero story, Rousseve had around 7 stops left in her route to bring New Orleans’ children to Lafayette Academy for the opening bell.

At approximately 7 a.m. on March 13th, she found that her bus was losing power and had begun to smoke. Pulling over, one of the children, a hero in her own right, alerted Rousseve that a fire had started under the bus.

“As soon as I seen the bus smoking, my instinct was get them off of the bus,” bus driver Kia Rousseve said. Speaking with WOWT 6 News, she added that she performs her own brief inspection of her bus every day, despite the school district having claimed it’s relatively pristine.

Ignoring the emergency exit, she led every child aged Kindergarten through 8th grade, through the front door and onto the street. Once everyone was a safe distance away, she reboarded, double-checked to make sure no one was left, killed the engine, and then stepped off again—just in time as it turns out.

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“I turned the bus off and got off. When I got off, the bus blew up,” she said. “All I heard was boom, boom, boom. I was like, ‘Oh my God, the bus blew up.’”

A statement released by the school district called her efforts and poise under pressure “nothing short of heroic.”

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“It’s a poignant reminder of the crucial role bus drivers play in our lives, often going unnoticed until a moment of crisis thrusts them into the spotlight,” said the statement, which was first reported by

Rousseve has decided to stop driving school buses, as the days that have since passed gradually made her realize how close she came to losing her life.

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