Bus driver guides children to safety from suspected gas leak

Shelton Fire department responded to a report of a potential gas leak in a school bus while it was making drop offs to Elizabeth Shelton School on Wednesday, Sept. 28 just after 9 a.m., but when they arrived the passengers had already been guided to safety by the driver.

Marge Morosko has been driving buses in Shelton for nearly 28 years and said all drivers receive training on what to do if they smell propane fumes in the bus, so when she did she didn’t hesitate.

She said the morning began just as it has for the past seven years she’s worked this route to drop students at ESS, but that changed quickly when she reached the three-way-intersection of Maple Ave. and Hayfield Dr.

“I heard a popping noise and immediately after the engine shut off and I could smell propane fumes,” said Morosko. “I have kindergartners on the bus and even they were asking what the smell was.”

With the engine shutting off in the middle of the intersection, Morosko said she put her hazard lights on and two-wayed the bus station to alert staff of the potential gas leak.

After putting out the alert that the bus was pulled over Morosko said she began to guide all of the students off the boss and to a grassy patch where they could be safe from the fumes and traffic.

“I have 12 or 13 kindergartners on the bus so their safety was my first concern,” said Morosko.

She explained that in most cases of evacuating a bus, the driver would immediately do a second check to assure all of the passengers got off safely. Morosko said she was unable to do so because she didn’t want to leave the students unattended even momentarily.

“That’s when the real hero came,” said Morosko.

One of the student’s father, David Myers of Rodia Ridge had seen what transpired and offered to wait with the kids while Morosko checked the bus for a second time.

After completing the second check and assuring the safety of the children, the group of students waited to be picked up by another bus for approximately 10 minutes before being brought to school.

White Hills Co. #5 and the Huntington Co. #3 responded to the scene and found children on the bus had been safely evacuated. According to the city’s Fire Marshal, “the gas odor occurred when a supply line became disconnected on the engine. The gas supply had been stopped immediately as designed but did cause and odor on the bus. Two engines and one rescue truck responded.”

Morosko said she’s grateful for the group of kids and their safety.

“The kids were great,” said Morosko. “They didn’t know what was going on but they all listened and exited the bus and followed my directions. I’m really proud of them.”

The school sent a letter home explaining the incident and the reason for Morosko’s procedure to guiding the students to safety.

Morosko said she doesn’t consider herself a hero, but rather someone who was just doing their job.

Marge Morosko has been a bus driver in Shelton for nearly 28 years and says she enjoys the relationships she has built with families over the course of her career.