A driver of a bus who’s quick thinking helped save 40 students when a coach he was driving burst in to flames this morning has played down his role in the incident.
The hero of the moment Declan Finnegan of Kenmare Coach’s has played down he heroics in which he said: “I was just doing my job,”.
Mr Finnegan has also received the praises of Kerry TD Michael Healy-Rae, whose son, Kevin, 15 was on board when the incident occurred, Mr Healy-Rae also praised the teachers involved in the bus fire drama in Co Cork earlier. “It was all handled in a professional, cool and calm manner,” he said.
Mr Healy-Rae’s son along with about 40 other pupils of Pobail Scoil Inbhear Sceine in Kenmare were on board a Kenmare Coaches bus on their way to the national ploughing championships, when it burst in to flames just outside Ballyvourney on the main Cork to Killarney road at around 7am this morning.
It is believed that one of the students noticed the smell of smoke and alerted a teacher, who told Mr Finnegan.
Mr Finnegan then proceeded to bring the bus to a safe halt as smoke began to fill the vehicle before he and the teachers oversaw the safe evacuation of all the passengers on board. Macroom fire service and the Gardai quickly rushed to the scene. Fire fighters brought the blaze under control quickly but the bus suffered extensive damage.
A spokesman for the Macroom fire service has said: “Luckily, no-one was injured”, they also praised Mr Finnegan and the teachers for organising a safe and swift evacuation of all on board.
A parent of a child who was on the coach had said her child lost a bag of clothes in the blaze but she was very thankful because it could have been a lot worse. The company sent a replacement coach which arrived soon afterwards and the children were later collected by their parents.
An investigation is now underway to establish the cause of the blaze.