An electrical fire began in the engine compartment of one bus at the Riverton bus barn earlier this week.
Michael Forget told News 13, “We only had one bus perish, the rest of them just have smoke damage internally and externally.”
When school district officials first heard of the fire, they expected the worst.
“We didn’t know what to expect to be honest with you, when I came up here and saw the place full of smoke my heart kind of dropped and it was kind of I don’t know devastating so to speak,” added Forget.
Terry Snyder reported, “As I was driving down to the bus barn I was just envisioning flames lighting up down-town Riverton, it wasn’t flames it was smoke but yet you never know what it’s going to be like when you get that call.”
Snyder also said the sprinkler system just installed two years ago that really saved the day, with a fleet of thirty buses each valued at around 120-thousand dollars if they’d lost them all and the barn they go in, losses could have totaled up to five million dollars.
Instead of driving a bus, drivers volunteer to clean the soot off those still operational on Tuesday.
“We’re going to wash them on the outside, scrub them down on the inside. Our bus drivers instead of driving buses today are going to be scrubbing down the inside of their bus.”
Every bus will be thoroughly inspected before getting back on the street.
“My mechanics will go ahead and they will inspect these buses from headlight to taillight and make sure that everything is taken care of and everything meets the requirements.”
Buses in the barn are parked only inches from each other, so only having one catch fire shows the efficiency of the sprinkler system.
Snyder said an hour after he heard about the fire; school districts from across the state were calling to offer buses.
Currently, 20 buses are donated and ready to go, so buses could run this this morning.