Local News

Hot steam, liquid burns students' feet on Wake school bus

Posted May 16, 2012

— An equipment malfunction caused hot steam and liquid to spew into the passenger cab of a Wake County school bus in Knightdale Wednesday afternoon, burning the feet of more than a dozen children.

The bus was traveling on Knightdale Boulevard shortly before 3 p.m. when the bus driver noticed what appeared to be steam coming from underneath the bus, according to school system officials. A hot liquid also covered parts of the floor.

"We were just riding the bus and then steam went everywhere and smoke," said 12-year-old Lauren West. "Everybody started screaming and puddles of water filled the floor."

The driver pulled over, near the Hinton Boulevard intersection, and evacuated the bus. Some students panicked and scrambled to get out off the bus.

"I jumped out of the back window, out of the emergency exit, and the window slammed on my hand," Robinson said. "Everybody was going crazy – yelling, screaming, people jumped out of a regular window."

Students burned on Wake school bus in Knightdale Students burned on Wake school bus in Knightdale

About 35 Wendell Middle School students were on board at the time. Fourteen suffered minor burns, redness and blisters on their feet from the heat, but no children were taken to the hospital.

School system officials said it appears that a belt ruptured on the bus, causing a leak, but they were still investigating what caused the malfunction.

Wake County schools spokesman Mike Charbonneau said the same bus underwent a full inspection and maintenance last week after it overheated.

At that time, the bus was deemed safe and operational.

"(The inspectors) ensure a bus is absolutely safe before they will put it back on the road," Charbonneau said.


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  • joeBob May 17, 2012

    "(The inspectors) ensure a bus is absolutely safe before they will put it back on the road," Charbonneau said.

    Evidently not.

  • rufflemyfeathers May 17, 2012

    Seriously, I know someone who works on these busses, and Wake had it coming. Those busses are OLD, seriously some are from '95! Besides, the "people" interviewed were 12 year old kids...they aren't exactly the most reliable people in the world.

  • me2you May 17, 2012

    Let the whiney, sue happy parents start their ranting and lawsuits. I'm sure some will go crazy over their golden child having to go through such trauma, and try to get $$ out of the situation. Life happens.

  • warbirdlover May 16, 2012

    A brand new hose can fail. My credentials. Factory training from Cummings, Detroit, Cat, John Deere, Sunstrand, and 35 years of turning wrenches for a living.

  • ladyblue May 16, 2012

    isn't something as a bad water hose suppose to show up during maintenance checks. if so i guess someone goofed. glad those kids weren't hurt more.

  • jbobby May 16, 2012

    @LibertarianTechie, I guess it"ll Thomas buses cause WCPSS laid of every body at the bus garage.

  • mfarmer1 May 16, 2012

    >> "A hot liquid also covered parts of the floor"

    back when I went to school, the trucks heaters were run off of the engine hot water. If this is how they currently route heat to the heaters this could be hot water from the engine.

  • seenbetterdaze May 16, 2012

    Funny how tripped up the Lib/Progs get with all their "special" interests...SAVE GAS, but Bus Students! Raise Taxes for da'schools, but lay off teachers. Hard to please all their voters. Remember how everyone used to walk or ride their bikes to neighborhood schools? And went HOME for lunch! Public schools just don't work anymore...should be privitized and LOCAL.

  • dlnorri May 16, 2012

    The proof that community schools are horrible is in the comments and ignorance of people that keep pushing them (and WRAL did blow this lead stating children were burned).
    (a) community schools are a failure everywhere they exist(yes the few that can afford the good ones do ok, but not everyone else in the community is toast). (b) wake county is 860 square mile, hence, limiting the walk to 20 minutes -1 mile- implies over 860 k-12 schools, to do away with the busses..... duh...

  • chouseworth May 16, 2012

    Your bulletin that came across on my iPhone said that eleven children were burned in a Wake bus accident. Wow. That gets ones attention. Fortunately for all of us, but unfortunately for the ratings starved WRAL team, it turned out to be much less than that. Have you no sense of responsibility as a news organization? You should be embarrassed. Furthermore, you should be censured. News reporting for, and by, eighth graders.