Reneita Smith from College Park, Maryland was driving her school bus full of 20 elementary school children when her bus caught fire on Tuesday afternoon.
As visible flames emerged from beneath the tires, Smith was alerted to the problem by an illuminated brake light indicator. When she realized that the bus was on fire, she didn't think twice about what to do:
"I opened my door, took off my seat belt, and I got my babies off that bus," she told NBC.
A mother, herself, Smith leapt into action. Remaining calm, she told the children to get off of the bus, then shepherded them to safety. Then, for a second time, she climbed back into the burning bus.
"I ran back onto the bus to make sure that every seat was clear," she said. Her quick thinking and cool head in a terrifying situation saved the lives of nearly two dozen children. She tells NBC that she felt responsible for their lives, like every mother does for her children.
"I'm their mom until I drop them off to their biological moms." "I have people calling me a hero, and I say that I'm just a mom," she said.
A dash-cam video caught footage of the fire as it engulfed the bus. But don't worry, by this time, all of the children and Smith had escaped to safety: