Teen helps students escape Sevier County bus fire

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SEYMOUR, Tenn. (WATE) – A local high schooler is sharing their experience in the moment their ride home from school turned frightening.

It happened Thursday afternoon, Sevier County Schools saying Bus 188 stopped on Wye Road after seeing smoke. The bus fire occurred on the ride home. School leaders say all of the students and the bus driver evacuated safely.

Seth Latham has two pictures saved on his phone from his ride home from school that help him recall that: “When we turned off Wye onto Dupont, that’s when it started catching on fire.”

The teen says they were told instructions on what to do and his instincts kicked in. Latham says while the bus driver used an extinguisher to put out the fire, he helped students out the rear exit.

“I just turned around and started helping little kids off because they couldn’t really make the jump because it was on a hill too, so they couldn’t jump,” said Latham.

Once firefighters got to the scene, Latham sent pictures to his grandmother.

“Oh I was terrified. He was a big brother to all those kids and I’m surprised that he was able to do that without a bunch of panic and chaos,” said Carolyn Weeks.

While helping students, Latham tried calming everyone, “Helping them all out was one of the ways that, it makes me feel pretty good.”

When asked if this high schooler is proud of himself, he’s humble.

“A little bit but it’s not that bad,” added Latham.

For his grandma, she says Latham’s bravery brings tears to her eyes.

“I am so proud of him. It shows all those years, he was brought up right,” added Weeks.

A day later, Latham says he was just, “Right place, right time to help people.”

The State Department of Education advises bus drivers to do at least one evacuation drill per semester, for each bus in the school district which involves bus drivers and students.

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