BUFFALO, N.Y. – A transit bus driver is being credited for saving 10 people asleep inside a burning home by pounding on the door. After his heroics, Richard Lucas got back behind the wheel and finished his route.
Lucas was driving his Niagara Frontier Transportation Authority bus in South Buffalo around 6:30 a.m. Monday when he noticed smoke coming from the back of a two-family house. He says he stopped the bus, which had passengers aboard, ran to the house and banged on the front door, waking up the people inside.
A woman living upstairs with her three children and a teenage nephew, and a man who lived downstairs with his wife and three kids told WGRZ-TV that they all could have died if not for Lucas.
"I woke up to a guy screaming in the house," Juan Huertas, who lived downstairs, told WGRZ. "I had no idea who it was, and then I heard my wife screaming, 'Get out of the house.'"
After everyone was out, Lucas headed to the next stop on his route.
"People have got to go to work. That's what we do," Lucas told the TV station.
A message left with NFTA officials wasn't immediately returned Wednesday morning.
The blaze caused about $80,000 in damage to the home and was still under investigation, Interim Fire Commissioner Garnell W. Whitfield Jr. told The Associated Press on Wednesday.
Whitfield said several people called 911 to report the blaze, but he praised Lucas' actions.
"You could call him a hero," Whitfield said. "Who knows how this turns out if he hadn't done what he did."
Information from: WGRZ-TV, http://www.wgrz.com