"I smelled something and I just knew it didn't smell right," she told ABC News Charlotte affiliate WSOC-TV.
Smoke then started pouring from the steering wheel of the 13-year-old bus and that's when Richardson took action. "As I saw the smoke, I knew it was time to get the kids and myself off the bus," she said.
Richardson led the six kids out the back of the bus before it burst into flames less than five minutes later.
"I was calm and they were calm and I felt that's what aided in a safe delivery for the kids," Richardson, 37, said. "I'm no hero. … I was just doing my job."
Fire investigators told WSOC-TV that they believe the blaze was caused by an electrical wiring malfunction.