Two Mississippi sisters are being lauded as heroes for helping evacuate a school bus full of children just minutes before it became engulfed in flames.
24-year-old Bettye Windom and her sister 29-year-old sister Beth Insley were stopped at a red light in their hometown of Georgetown when they noticed smoke emitting from the school bus in front of them. The sisters were driving home a new car they had just purchased.
"We saw the school bus, and it was smoking real bad, and we knew we had to get those kids out of the bus," Windom said.
Without thinking twice, the sisters put the pedal to the metal and began pursuing the bus.
"(Beth) started flagging them down. It took us probably a mile to get them to pull over," Windom told WAFB. "We were running on the side of the bus and we had the flashers on. We were honking and screaming. My sister was out of the vehicle, out the window, screaming at him. We finally got in front of them and slammed on brakes to get them to get out of the bus."
The sisters helped evacuate 22 people from the bus—mere minutes before it was consumed in flames. One girl bruised her shoulder getting off the bus, but no one else was hurt.
"We knew we had to stop the bus, and the driver didn't see us," Windom told the Good News blog. "It took three minutes after we got everyone out for the bus to burn down."
Insley also directed highway traffic around the emergency scene.
"I was scared," she recalls. "After they sprayed the fire extinguishers, the flames came back with a vengeance. I was waiting for it to explode, and we were trying to get everyone into the woods."
Officials believe the bus, which is fairly new, had a hidden mechanical problem.
Despite the attention and praise they’ve earned for their fearless deed, the sisters say they don’t think of themselves as heroes.
"I'm just thankful everyone was okay,” said Windom.