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Fire under investigation at Sanford school bus garage

Posted June 21, 2012

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— Authorities are investigating a fire at the bus garage of Lee County Schools, where three buses were destroyed Thursday afternoon and two others were damaged.

There were no reports of injuries.

Jeffrey Moss, superintendent for Lee County Schools, said the fire started on one bus in the back of the parking lot, at 416 Cox Maddox Road, and spread to two other buses.

Moss said quick response by local firefighters and garage employees who moved buses away from the fire kept the situation from becoming worse.

"We are thankful that school is out and that we have time to bring in new buses and repair those we can," he said.

Sanford school bus fire Buses catch fire at Lee County Schools garage

Witnesses said they heard explosions, which Moss said were tires from the first bus that caught fire.

"I heard a great big boom and it scared me, so I went to the door and looked out," said Donna Collins, who captured cellphone video of the blaze. "I saw black smoke rolling up around where the buses were."

"It was a really scary thing," she added. "We were thinking the whole thing was going to blow up."

Rick Morin also witnessed a lot of black smoke coming from the parking lot.

"(The smoke) probably went up 200 feet in the air," he said.

Authorities have contacted the State Bureau of Investigation to look into what caused the blaze.


This story is closed for comments.

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  • LibertarianTechie Jun 22, 2012

    From WTVD: ¨Officials said the buses had been parked at the facility since June 8 and were awaiting scheduled summer maintenance." This could have been the heat, or someone with way too much time on his or her hands and should go to school to learn how to do control burns so he/she can control his/her desires to see fire.

  • commonsenseisn't Jun 21, 2012

    This is not an unusual situation with diesel engines. I've seen this many times. There are no hydraulic lines at the wheels. Those buses have air brakes. Abattery shut-off switch would probably have prevented this.

  • jmf1073 4.0 Jun 21, 2012

    I'd feel better knowing it was arson rather than spontaneous combustion. Might be better off taking to the kids to school in the SUV from now on.

  • homebrewer Jun 21, 2012

    The wheels on the bus melt and explode, melt and explode, melt and explode...

  • kellypsnll Jun 21, 2012

    Nothing in the story said that the fire was intentionally set. You people are making up your own story. Maybe the bus was just worked on or just brought in to the lot. Possibly a hydralic line broke on the hot wheels. We won't know until a full investigation is done. There were people at the garage to move other busses out of the way. I doubt teenagers would be so bold to set fire to the bus/busses with people working in the area.

  • jmf1073 4.0 Jun 21, 2012

    Well, the kids are out of school for summer and looking for something to do during the day. Hey, let's go burn some of the school's buses. *smh*

  • DivaD Jun 21, 2012

    I hope they are caught