CUMBERLAND COUNTY, N.C. — Cumberland County officials have launched an arson investigation after a group of overnight school bus fires.
Investigators said someone set fire to three buses from Manchester Elementary and Spring Lake Middle schools.
Spring Lake police were on patrol at about 12:40 a.m. Wednesday when they noticed smoke and flames coming from a bus at Spring Lake Middle School.
As fire crews worked to put out the fire, they noticed two buses across the street at Manchester Elementary School were also on fire.
The Spring Lake Middle School bus is undrivable. The other buses have minor smoke damage. Authorities said all three fires started in the driver's seat.
Additional buses were called out to pick up students.
"We did have some spare buses available and also we'll coordinate with some other area schools to assist in using their buses," said Jimmy Black, Cumberland County Schools security chief.
The buses were towed to Fayetteville for repair.
In September 2003, two Spring Lake Middle School buses were set on fire during overnight hours. No arrests were made in that case.