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Teacher Pulls 38 Children to Safety During Bus Fire on Florida Highway

38 children escape burning school bus in Florida 0:19

A math teacher saved the lives of 38 schoolchildren when she pulled over the bus she was driving Wednesday morning moments before it erupted in flames, the Florida Highway Patrol said. Kristina Buhrman's quick actions allowed her to usher out the Polk County middle school students to safety before anyone could be injured — or worse, NBC affiliate WESH reported.

"This could have been pretty bad. We could have had a tragic situation, but the bus driver was instrumental in pulling over," said FHP Sgt. Mary Godino. "Once she started to smell gas and smoke, with that combination, she did a fabulous job."

Buhrman, who was substituting as a bus driver, told WESH that the children exited calmly just as they had been taught during drills. "They did great. The kids really, truly did great," said Buhrman, who lost her personal possessions in the fire. The cause of the accident was being investigated. School officials at Discovery Academy of Lake Alfred told WESH that its buses are inspected every 30 days.

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— Erik Ortiz