Illinois contractor to investigate cause of Brownsville I.S.D. school bus fires


POSTED: Thursday, October 10, 2013 - 3:11pm

UPDATED: Friday, October 11, 2013 - 7:45am

Brownsville ISD officials are taking swift action in light of a second incident involving a school bus on Wednesday, October 9, 2013.

At approximately 4:30 PM on FM 802 and South Padre Island Highway, Bus #447 experienced a fire in the engine compartment. The driver reported to the transportation dispatcher that smoke was emitting from the bus dashboard. The bus had 30 Rivera High School students on board at the time. The students and driver were safely evacuated and the driver was able to extinguish the fire. The bus was manufactured by International Corporation.

On Friday, October 4, 2013, another International Corporation bus of similar make and model, Bus #528, caught fire on 14th Street and the Expressway Frontage Road with 29 Porter High School students on board. All were safely evacuated through the rear door of the bus.

BISD transportation administrators have contacted the bus manufacturer and the company is sending several product integrity specialists from Chicago, Illinois on Monday, October 14, 2013 to inspect 4 similar school buses which have been removed from BISD transportation service. They will also inspect another 100 buses manufactured by International Corporation that are a different make and model as an added safety precaution. Every effort is being made to ensure that all BISD mechanical and electrical systems are functioning properly on all district buses.

Brownsville ISD will be taking delivery of 42 new, regular buses and 18 special needs buses manufactured by Thomas Built Buses, Inc. at the end of October as part of a $6.4 million school bus fleet upgrade. Another 12 buses were also ordered this week. The BISD fleet is comprised of over 300 buses.

The drivers involved in both incidents will be commended at an upcoming school board

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