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'Bus Driver from Heaven' Rescued Children from California Wildfire

Kevin McKay drove the school bus along gridlocked, dark roads as pockets of fire burned all around. Nearly two dozen elementary school children were on board with him. Smoke began to fill the bus, so McKay took off a shirt. He and two teachers on the bus tore it into pieces and doused them with water. The children held the damp pieces of cloth to their mouths and breathed through them.

He had only been on the job, driving the bus for Ponderosa Elementary School in the northern California city of Paradise, for a few months. Now, McKay was ferrying the 22 stranded children to safety as the Camp Fire scorched everything in its path. It would take five harrowing hours for them to reach safety.

Family members of most other students had already picked up their children. But nearly two dozen students were stranded because their family members hadn't made it to the school. McKay discussed evacuating the students with Ponderosa's principal. Two teachers, Abbie Davis and Mary Ludwig, evacuated with McKay and the students.

As they drove away from the school on roads thick with smoke, the bus became stuck in the gridlock of vehicles trying to leave Paradise. Should they abandon the bus, they wondered?

Davis said she thought she was going to die several times along the journey. At one point, they prayed, Ludwig said. Hours later, parents and children were reunited. McKay said Davis' husband hugged him so hard, he "near lifted me off the ground."

The Camp Fire is now the deadliest and most destructive fire in California history, killing at least 81 people and leaving more than 900 people still unaccounted for. Recounting their escape on Sunday, McKay was modest. But Davis and Ludwig said McKay was a true hero. "We had the bus driver from heaven," Ludwig said.

Potential Preaching Angles:

In our time of greatest danger, Jesus, our ‘rescuer from heaven’ came to save us. He brings all who trust him safely through the fire (Matthew 1:21).


Paul Vercammen, Eliott C. McLaughlin and Darran Simon, ‘'Bus driver from heaven' rescued young children from California wildfire’ CNN (11-19-18)

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