AUBURN, Ind. — Northeastern Indiana officials say 16 students and a school bus driver escaped to safety after the bus caught fire and was badly damaged.

Firefighters in Auburn summoned just before 7 a.m. Friday arrived to find the engine compartment and driver’s area of the DeKalb Central school district bus engulfed by flames.

Schools Superintendent Steve Teders says the driver stopped and evacuated the students from the bus after spotting smoke coming from under its front hood. He says the students were checked out by medics and released.

The Auburn Fire Department says the blaze was under control within six minutes of firefighters arriving on the scene in the city about 20 miles north of Fort Wayne. The fire’s cause wasn’t immediately determined.