3/27/08 Sarah Smith Elementary School Bus Fire 

"Celebrating Mr. Robert Watson and the Students of Bus 904"

Photos from 4/3/08 assembly at Sarah Smith School

Hero bus driver Robert Watson

Student riders of Bus 904 with driver Watson

Students Ritchie McClure and Conner Stutts provide a really big check and a picture signed by the students of Bus 904.

(Click these pictures to see a larger version)
Watson doesn't want to be called a hero.  He credits a recent training course he took -- Watson said, "the training just kicked in".

Watson, who left his leather jacket on the burning bus, received a new coat today.  Other gifts included plaques and certificates from the Mayor and City Council of Atlanta, Fulton County, the Georgia House of Representatives and from the students and staff of Sarah Smith School and the APS.  He also received $3,000 in cash contributed by appreciative parents, a $2500 check from the William Carter Company and four Atlanta Braves baseball tickets contributed by neighbor Joe LeCompte along with $100 for hotdogs and drinks from NBCA.

The students on the bus were also praised for their outstanding behavior and discipline during this emergency.  The last student was reportedly safely off the bus only 30 seconds before it burst into flames.  Without the quick action of the driver and the excellent response by the students, this could have been a tragedy.

The following reports and pictures are from North Buckhead residents Suzy Smith and Jeff Love.

Here are some photos of the bus fire. We are so, so fortunate that all of the children got out safely. On Thursday, April 3 at 10:00, the Sarah Smith PTA will have a presentation honoring the bus driver, Robert Watson. We are also thankful that the landscape crew that was on the scene acted quickly to put out the grass fire, preventing someone's house from catching fire as well.

While the source of the fire still remains to be determined, it is great cause for concern among us parents that the buses have not been adequately maintained and we will let everyone know what we find out. --Suzy Smith

Bus, invisible inside a cloud of black smoke, as fireman unloads hose.

The firemen at the bus.

The fire flares up.

Firemen continue to hose down the burned out bus.

Pictures above by Suzy Smith - click images to see a larger version

I agree that a close call it was. It took the fire department a very long time to respond to the situation which is a concern all by itself. Thank God no one was injured. The bus driver is to be commended. --Jeffrey Love.

Pictures above by Jeff Love - click images to see a larger version


Note: We hope to get permission to publish other photos of this fire taken by other neighbors.  Check back in a few days for other photos.