WATCH: bus bursts into flames, driver evacuates team

MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO/CNN) - A middle school boys basketball team escaped out of the back of their bus after it caught on fire Tuesday.

The team safely evacuated with the help of their bus driver and their coach, Daniel Beyel.

“I’m just really proud of the kids for responding calmly getting off the bus,” Beyel said.

The team was traveling for its first game of the season.

Beyel said the driver quickly pulled over and ordered everyone to exit out the back door once they smelled smoke.

The fire intensified about five minutes after they escaped.

Beyel said the first responders gave the boys blankets and let them into their vehicles to keep warm.

“They were very scared. We were all kind of, like, thrown off,” Beyel said.

He credited their safe escape to the school system and the bus drivers for practicing fire safety.

The Minnesota State Patrol is investigating what caused the fire.

School district officials said the bus was only four years old and had just passed its annual inspection last month.

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