STERLING (CBS)- A laptop battery caught fire on a school bus in Sterling Wednesday morning.
Montachusett Regional Vocational Technical High School students were on their way from Sterling when a student noticed smoke coming from their backpack. They alerted the bus driver who looked back and saw a decent amount of smoke coming from the back of the bus. The driver then called 911 and pulled over.
The bus driver, who is a retired firefighter, was able to help everyone get out safely and was impressed with how orderly and calm the students were in the face of a fire.
“Great job, Monty Tech students! You should be proud of your actions!” the Sterling Fire Department wrote in a Facebook post.
Word spread quickly among classmates.
“Basically that they were driving and he usually sleeps on the bus in the morning, and woke up to a face full of smoke and they all had to pull over and evacuate,” said student Lexis Vautour. “And when the students got to school they all were sent down to the nurse to get evaluated.”
School officials say the fire department told them a battery in the Hewlett Packard Chromebook failed, causing it to ignite in the backpack. Every student is issued a Chromebook.
“I thought it was crazy but I’m glad the kids are safe,” parent Melony Sylvester said. “That was amazing. It was great that they got off the bus so quickly and reacted wonderful but I’m glad the school reacted as well.”
A school district statement says, “Hewlett-Packard representatives are unaware of any similar incidents, out of an abundance of caution, we will be collecting all of the student’s Chromebooks today.”
“If it’s that one it could be many others you don’t know. It could be a freak one but it could also be hundreds of them so. It’s in the best interest of the kids to make sure they’re safe,” parent Rob Sylvester said.
For now students will have to get by without the laptops.
“It’s kind of concerning about our Chromebooks,” said student Devon Oliveira. “It’s something that we use every day for our schoolwork. I think the school has done everything they can to prevent it from happening again.”
The school district is continuing to look into all of this. Meanwhile they promise to keep students and school staffers updates.