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New Orleans Bus Driver Saves 8 Students from Explosion: ‘Nothing Short of Heroic,’ Says Boss

Kia Rousseve is being praised for "her ability to stay calm in the face of danger"

<p>WVUE FOX 8 New Orleans/YouTube</p> Kia Rousseve

WVUE FOX 8 New Orleans/YouTube

Kia Rousseve
  • A New Orleans school bus driver is being hailed a "hero"

  • Kia Rousseve, 28, was driving a bus last week when it encountered mechanical issues and began to smoke

  • Rousseve ushered eight children off the vehicle, and shortly afterwards, "the bus blew up," she said

A community is hailing a school bus driver as a hero after she saved the lives of eight children in New Orleans.

Kia Rousseve, 28, was driving through the Central City neighborhood, en route to Lafayette Academy shortly after 7 a.m. on March 13, when she noticed her bus began to smoke and was losing power, according to NOLA.com, CBS affiliate WWL-TV and Fox affiliate WVUE-TV.

“I seen the smoke and then a little girl came and told me the bus was on fire underneath,” Rousseve told WVUE-TV. “I got them off.”

After bringing the bus to a stop, Rousseve ushered the kindergarten through eighth-grade students off the bus.

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“I turned the bus off and got off,” Rousseve told the station. “When I got off, the bus blew up. All I heard was, 'Boom, boom, boom.' I was like, 'Oh my God, the bus blew up.' "

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Rousseve, who has been a bus driver for three years and has worked for Community Academies of New Orleans (CANO) since February, recalled to NOLA.com that she relied on her motherly instinct during the incident.

"My instinct is like, 'No, this is not normal.' My instinct was like, 'Pull the bus over,' " Rousseve told NOLA.com.

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Now Rousseve’s actions are being lauded by her supervisor, according to WWL-TV.

"Her ability to stay calm in the face of danger, ensuring not a single child came to harm is nothing short of heroic,” her supervisor said in a statement obtained by the station.

CANO called the bus driver’s actions “courage on wheels,” per WVUE-TV.

For Rousseve, the harrowing moment is not one that she’ll soon forget — but she also takes pride in her quick-thinking during the ordeal.

“I feel great about saving other kids’ lives and saving my life,” Rousseve told WVUE-TV.

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