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Students Recount Moments Before School Bus Burst Into Flames

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FORT WORTH (CBSDFW.COM) - In a flash, a North Texas school bus filled with students was on fire. For the first time Wednesday night, those students share with CBS 11 News the frightening moments before they were able to escape.

All of the students on the Northwest Independent School District bus were able to it off without injury.

Looking at pictures, it's pretty hard to believe no one was hurt.

Hours after the fire you could still smell smoke in the area and a large patch of burned grass was visible. As of 10:30 p.m., the bus company was still trying to figure out what happened. But CBS 11 News got a first-hand account from students.

Sisters Cherinn and Charity watched from the roadway as flames engulf their school bus. Only minutes earlier they'd been sitting inside.

Thinking back, one of the girls said, "There was this huge, loud-like noise… a pop."

The teens say the bus blew a tire while traveling on the highway and the bus driver tried to steer the vehicle down an exit ramp.

While they were still moving, the teens said another driver began furiously honking their horn. "She was like, 'there's a fire! Your bus is on fire!'"

Cherinn was glad for the warning. "I'm happy she really tried to get our attention."

In all, 10 students from Northwest High School and the bus driver evacuated safely.

Once outside, standing on the side of the road, they say a small fire begin to grow.

"You could smell burning rubber. I never thought it would get that big."

The girls called their mother. Toni Norman said when she arrived at the scene she found her daughters' bus burned to a crisp. "It was black. It was burned. They had put it out, but the bus was… gone."

CBS 11 tried to talk with the school bus driver but she declined our request. Administrators with the Northwest ISD credit her for getting all the kids safely off the bus.

(©2014 CBS Local Media, a division of CBS Radio Inc. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.)

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