Russ Nelson, the transportation director at Lenox School District, located southwest of Sioux Falls, South Dakota, is being recognized for his quick thinking and heroic actions for safely evacuating 12 students after the school bus he was driving caught fire.
Lincoln County Sheriff’s Office deputies and other local first responders were dispatched Wednesday to a school bus fire on Highway 44. On arrival, Nelson had already evacuated all students onboard.
Due to frigid temperatures that day, the South Dakota Highway Patrol and the Lennox Police Department helped the children into warm vehicles, until another school bus arrived minutes later.
“Due to [Nelson’s] actions, there were no reported injuries,” The Lincoln County Sheriff’s Office posted on Facebook. “We would like to thank the South Dakota Highway Patrol and the Lennox Police Department for their quick response, and the Worthing Fire Department for working in these subzero temperatures to get the fire put out quickly.”
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The cause of the fire remains under investigation. However, a local media outlet reported that Nelson said he believes the fire was due to a mechanical failure on the bus.
There was no information on if this was Nelson’s normal bus route, or if he was filling in. School Transportation News reached out for more information but had not heard back at this report.