Georgia bus driver shortage, Florida, fire, Sea World, Broward COunty, School, field trip

Sixth-Grade Students Safe After Bus Catches Fire Following SeaWorld Field Trip 

Thankfully, everyone was safe!

Students from Broward County, Florida, are safe following an incident where a bus transporting them back from SeaWorld caught fire.

The fire occurred on Feb. 16 after the bus pulled over near a Florida turnpike rest stop. Aboard the charter bus were 47 students and four chaperones from Seminole Middle School who’d enjoyed a day at the Orlando aquatic attraction.

Cathleen Brennan, a Broward County Public Schools (BCPS) spokesperson, says it still isn’t clear what caused the fire and is glad no one was hurt. “All students and staff had been safely evacuated from the bus before the fire started,” Brennan said. “We are proud of the quick response to this situation by all the chaperones, including the school resource officer and assistant principal, as well as the charter bus driver.”

Students began texting and video-chatting their parents while heading back to Broward County on the bus, which was provided by Hollywood, Florida-based My South Bus Tours. Brennan said all parents and guardians were updated constantly as new developments developed.

“Parents were kept informed about the incident through phone calls with their students and chaperones, as well as through messages from the principal, which provided updates on the replacement charter bus, including when the bus would arrive when the students were onboard and information about their expected arrival time back at the school,” Brennan said. 

“All children were safe during this process, and the school appreciated the support from parents.”

The frightening incident was supposed to be a fun-filled day for the preteens. BCPS said it may change how students and chaperones are transported on future field trips.

But all parties involved, especially the students and the chaperones, were praised for their handling of the situation.

The district released a statement emphasizing safety. “Once the replacement charter bus arrived, the students and chaperones returned safely to the school,” the statement read. “We are proud of the quick responses to this situation by all those involved, as the safety of students and staff is always our priority.” 

SeaWorld, which kicks off its 60th anniversary starting March 21, hasn’t yet released its own statement regarding the incident.