STERLING, MASS. (WHDH) - School officials in Sterling are collecting all school-issued laptops after a battery pack ignited onboard a packed school bus Thursday morning.

The driver of the bus, a retired firefighter, noticed the smoke rising from the back of the bus and pulled over before evacuating students who were on their way to the Montachusett Regional Vocational Technical School in Fitchburg.

One person called 911 while another removed the smoking backpack from the bus.

When firefighters arrived, the smoldering fire had been extinguished, leaving nothing but a black hole in the student’s backpack.

In a statement, Superintendent Sheila Harrity said, “The school administrators promptly reached out to Hewlett-Packard to discuss a potential cause. Hewlett-Packard is investigating the incident. Although Hewlett-Packard representatives are unaware of any similar incidents, out of an abundance of caution, we will be collecting all of the student’s Chromebooks.”

The bus driver told firefighters that the students were very orderly and remained calm throughout the ordeal.

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