GEORGETOWN, Ky. (LEX 18) — Members of the Scott County football team are full of thanks on Saturday.
After a truck driver passing them on Friday night noticed their bus was on fire and helped get them to safety, the community is calling that man a hero.
Sophomore Jacob Romero was on the bus. It's hard for him to find the words to express relief. The bus caught fire on I-75 in Lexington on Friday.
"Our coach was trying to get the bus driver's attention and said hey someone is trying to get us over and the truck driver says hey your bus is on fire you need to pull over," said Romero.
Scott County had just lost to Fredrick Douglass. Most of us have been there after a loss. Those rides can be quiet and glum. This was quite the opposite.
"I said 'the bus is on fire, the wheel is on fire, you need to pull the bus over,'" recalled Alvin Edwards, who saw the bus on fire. "I started hollering, get off the bus, get off the bus it's not going to go out."
While the exact cause of the malfunction that sparked the fire is still being determined, that truck driver's parental instincts kicked in. He's the father of a high school football player himself.
"I felt like it was my own kids in there," said Edwards. "I just went into protection mode and just had to get them out."
"We just want to say our most sincere thank you for everything," said Billy Parker, who is Scott County's Superintendent-elect. "We really appreciate it because this is a situation where it looked like minutes mattered for sure."
"If I didn't make the wrong turn, I wouldn't have been there when it happened," Edwards said.
He had been going in the wrong direction on the road when he saw the bus. Once Edwards got 21 students, two coaches, and the driver off the bus, his work wasn't done. He took the fire extinguisher to try and put the fire out -- all while trying to move everyone away from the burning bus.
"Me and my friends all hugged each other and said wow if we were on that bus any longer, we probably wouldn't have made it out alive," Romero said.
It wasn't just the team hugging one another though. For this moment, Edwards was a teammate.
"They crowded me like you see at a football game when they win the game," said Edwards. "And they were slapping me on my bald head, giving me daps and hugs and shaking my hand."
Now he's hailed a hero and credited with saving parents' precious cargo.
"It gets me so emotional I don't know what to say," Edwards. "Takes my words away from me. I just did what any father would do."
Everyone got off the bus safely. As for maintenance records for the bus, Scott County Schools leaders said we would be able to obtain those after the weekend.