Wake Co. begins inspection of buses after fire

February 23, 2012 3:33:58 PM PST
Wednesday, the State Department of Public Instruction directed every school system in the state to conduct a thorough inspection of their buses.

The order came two weeks after a school bus full of Charlotte students caught fire. The bus driver managed to get all the kids off the bus before the flames caused any injuries.

An ABC I-Team report exposed a history of safety problems in the model of bus that caught fire.

Preliminary reports found the rubbing of the intake heater wire against the metal heater shutoff valve sparked the fire.

Thomas Built Buses in High Point is still conducting a full investigation. It's believed the buses in question were shipped between 1998 and 1999.

The I-Team discovered that North Carolina has nearly 400 of those buses, including 33 in Wake County, 17 in Durham, and 17 in Cumberland County.

The state said, at this point, they are only focused on those specific buses. However, there are plans to expand the inspections for all buses.

So far, Wake County has examined more than 400 buses that are similar to the one that caught fire in Charlotte. The inspections began even before the state ordered school officials to do the inspections.

Officials said only 136 of the 400 buses are the same model year as the Charlotte bus. They are now about 75 percent done reinspecting those buses. They hope to have all their inspections done by today or tomorrow.

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