Close call for Winnipeg students as their bus catches fire

School bus driver, Chris Franczyk, says he is grateful students had not already boarded this bus when it caught fire just before leaving for a field trip Friday.

A Winnipeg school bus driver is breathing a sigh of relief that no students were on board his bus when it went up in flames Friday, but says it was a close call.

Chris Franczyk, who drives a bus for Faith Academy Middle School on Jefferson Ave., said he had left the bus parked with the engine running near the school to warm up before driving 40 students to a field trip.

Franczyk said a neighbour nearby came into the school saying smoke was coming from the bus.

Franczyk said when he got outside, the front engine was engulfed in flames.

He said the students were about five minutes away from boarding it to see the Christmas presentation of Bethlehem Live.

Franczyk said he was also relieved it didn't happen while he was transporting students during the morning or afternoon drive.

He said the bus is a model from 2008 and was regularly serviced.

It was last checked in August and was up again for inspection in February.​