Only the driver and one student were aboard this Plato School District bus when it burned Friday morning in Laclede County.

A Plato R-V School District bus was destroyed by fire Friday morning, but nobody was injured.

Plato Schools Superintendent Kim Hawk said the bus was traveling on Urban Road near Highway O in the Lynchburg area of Laclede County when it caught fire.  Hawk said there were only two people aboard at the time – the driver and one student.

“It was right at the beginning of the route,” she said.

Hawk said the cause of the blaze isn’t known for sure, but driver Billie Bohannon indicated there had been a problem immediately before it started.

“He said when he went to put it in reverse, it had some trouble getting into reverse,” she said. “It’s only conjecture at this point, but we’re thinking maybe it was the transmission.”

The charred remains of the bus were towed back to Texas County by a truck from Arrington’s Automotive Repair at Plato. Owner Victor Arrington also said the fire’s origin wasn’t clear, but it began up front.

“It was something under the hood,” he said.

Hawk said a Northern Wright County Fire Department firefighter drove by and saw the bus burning, and called in the incident.

“He called it in and dispatched himself before he was dispatched,” she said.

Personnel from several departments then responded to the scene (which is near the borders of Laclede and Wright counties), including Nebo, Falcon and Northern Wright County.

Hawk said Bohannon was on point with his reaction to the situation.

“He got the student off the bus and tried to extinguish the fire with his extinguisher,” she said. “We feel like he did a really good job and was on his A-game and followed all his procedures. He probably got the kid about a quarter mile down the road.

“He did a great job of responding and alerting.”

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