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home : news : north central illinois   May 24, 2016

5/1/2013 7:24:00 AM
Debris sticks to bus, catches fire at Tonica

Amy Flanery
Lifestyle Editor

TONICA — A school bus caught fire at Tonica Grade School Monday night. No students were present, according to superintendent-principal John Suarez, and the bus driver was treated at the scene for smoke inhalation.

Upon pulling the bus into the bus garage, the driver noticed smoke. Suarez said there was a burnt rubber smell and the bus had to be aired out overnight. The fire appeared to have been caused by debris that stuck to the bus, he said, likely after it was driven through standing water.

“The fire department pulled out from underneath the bus a pile of dried corn stalks,” Suarez said.

“It ended up melting the fuel line,” he added, “so it could have been a lot worse than what it was.”

Suarez said there was “minimal scorching” on one side of the bus, but it had to be towed away for repair because it would not accelerate. The leased bus will need to be working again before it can be returned to the bus company.

Suarez said the school will likely adopt a policy that directs bus drivers not to drive through standing water.

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