Hero 'bus driver from heaven' saved 22 kids from California wildfire as smoke billowed through the windows on dark gridlocked roads surrounded by flames

Kevin McKay, 41, kept his nerve as his school bus filled with smoke and he drove 22 terrified children and their teachers to safety
A hero bus driver tore his shirt into made makeshift masks for 22 children as he dashed them to safety in the midst of the deadliest wildfires in California history.
Most of the children at Ponderose Elementary School in the town of Paradise, North California, had been picked up by parents as part of mass evacuations, said school bus driver Kevin McKay, 41, in an interview with CNN.
But 22 children were stranded at the school on November 8 because their families had not yet made it.
Meanwhile the Camp Fire — which started about 6.30am that day and has now left at least 77 people dead — was intensifying.
After discussing an escape plan with the school principal, Mr McKay who had only been in the job a few months climbed into the bus with the kids and two teachers.
"It just kind of looked like we'd be headed into Mordor," Mr McKay told CNN, recalling the dark lands of the evil Lord Sauron from Tolkien's "Lord the Rings".​
Together they made a desperate dash to safety as the bus filled with smoke and the children complained they felt weak.
The bus quickly hit traffic as the panicked residents of Paradise all took to the streets to flee.
Mr McKay witnessed several collisions as frenzied drivers battled to escape.
To help the children breathe, he took his shirt off and tore it into strips which he doused with water and handed to pupils to put over their mouths.
It took five frightening hours to reach safety amid the wildfires which were on a scale that Mr McKay described as "unheard of".
Although they were trying to get out as fast as possible, the bus driver also picked up a pre-school teacher whose own car had broken down.
In the interview, Mr McKay played down his bravery and said he just followed safety training.
Once the kids were safely out of Paradise, kindergarten teacher Mary Ludwig, 50, who was on board at the time, praised McKay's actions in an interview with CNN.
"We had the bus driver from heaven," she said.
Hero 'bus driver from heaven' saved 22 kids from California wildfire as smoke billowed through the windows on dark gridlocked roads surrounded by flames Hero 'bus driver from heaven' saved 22 kids from California wildfire as smoke billowed through the windows on dark gridlocked roads surrounded by flames Reviewed by STATION GOSSIP on 06:12 Rating: 5

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