It was like a scene right from out from a Hollywood movie, a hero school bus driver passed through a fiery ‘Armageddon’ landscape and rescued children and teachers from the Californian wildfires that engulfed Paradise, in Butte County.
Kevin McKay, 41, did not get deterred by the raging flames, but tore his shirt into rags and doused them with water for the children to breathe through.
He and the teachers from Ponderosa Elementary School on board wanted to flee the vehicle, but he bravely drove them on to safety.
Mary Ludwig, 50, said, ‘the sky was really menacing.’ adding further, ‘It was very scary. It felt like Armageddon.’
Kevin said, ‘It just kind of looked like we’d be headed into Mordor,’ like the fiery world of the evil Sauron from The Lord of the Rings.
Most of the children had already been collected from the school by their parents, but still 22 children were remaining to be saved.
McKay’s family had already left the area but he remained dedicated to his bus driving job, which he had only taken three months ago.
The children’s lungs were filling with smoke even as McKay persevered on the gridlocked roads, walled with fire.
One of the children reported feeling unwell, but McKay started making rags with the help of teachers to help them breathe more safely.
McKay has been described as ‘the bus driver from heaven’ by the school teachers, and rightly so, God only knows what would have happened to those children if he wasn’t there.