School bus inspections and repairs underway after Wake County fire

RALEIGH, N.C. (WTVD) -- The ABC11 I-Team has obtained Wake County school bus maintenance records revealing emergency inspections and repairs following a school bus fire on Tuesday at Holly Springs High School.

A preliminary investigation suggests the fire could have been caused by a worn spot on a wire near the engine, according to the Wake County Public School System.

Mechanics have inspected 20 other similar buses and are installing protective coverings on the wires leading to the alternator to prevent future fires.

The engine compartment fire ignited in bus No. 309, a 2007 International VT3 model bus that can accommodate 72 passengers, while it was parked with one child on board.

The child escaped the fire without injury.

The school district said the bus had a new engine installed by a third-party vendor in 2018 and 20 other similar buses that have replacement engines have undergone inspection and repair since the fire.

"These tasks were completed on most of these buses by Tuesday afternoon with the remaining buses to be inspected and updated with the wire covering by Saturday," said Lisa Luten, Communications Director for the Wake County Public School System, in an email to ABC11. "We're also contracting with a different third-party vendor to conduct an additional review regarding the cause of the fire."

The school system has a fleet of 870 buses, with 48 of the same make and model that caught fire.

The inspections and repairs are only focused on the buses that have replacement engines.

"We are grateful to the Holly Springs Fire Department for getting the fire extinguished quickly and ensuring all surrounding the incident were safe," Luten said.
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