DICKINSON, Texas — "We could all be dead."
That's what Patrick Rogers thought as he recalled the minute his school bus went up in flames just minutes after he and his students escaped.
The video shows Rogers being the last one to get off the bus before flames ignited near the steering wheel.
"We could all be dead," Rogers said. "The driver and 28 souls could be lost and I'm extremely grateful it didn't go that way."
Rogers has been a bus driver for four years for Lobit Middle School. He said after his first afternoon stop on Wednesday, he smelled smoke, so he immediately put the bus in park and told the students to get off as fast as possible.
Rogers said he and the kids were about 100 feet away before they saw more smoke and then flames.
The next day, Rogers got a closer look at the charred backpacks, books and other belongings that were left behind on the bus.
Parents and district officials are calling him a hero, but Rogers said he was just doing what he was trained to do.
"I don't know about a hero," Rogers said. "I'm just happy it worked out the way it did. I was just doing what any bus driver would do. I am grateful and thankful to all the parents for their support."
Dickinson Fire Department said they are still looking into the cause of that fire. But the assistant chief says Rogers did all the work by getting the kids to safety so they could concentrate on putting out the flames.