Tonawanda News

November 27, 2012

School bus wrecked in fire

By Jessica Bagley
The Tonawanda News

Tonawanda News — TOWN OF TONAWANDA — A Ken-Ton school bus was completely destroyed in an early-morning fire Monday, according to authorities.

Sheridan Park Volunteer Fire Company responded to the fire at the district’s transportation headquarters after a town resident alerted police to the blaze.

“The bus was completely in flames,” Assistant Chief Shawn Kauffman said. “They were visible from about 25 feet away.”

Firefighters entered the gate at the district-owned property at 1680 Military Road shortly after 1 a.m. In just 15 minutes the fire was extinguished, but the 2005 bus was completely destroyed.

Two buses parked near the totaled vehicle were also minimally damaged.

“They are functional,” Kauffman said. “One had a burnt mirror.” 

The cause of the fire is still under investigation, but Kauffman said the block heater in the bus was the likely culprit.

The heater keeps the oil warm overnight so the buses will start in the morning, but it likely malfunctioned Monday.

Lt. Nick Bado said district Supervisor of Transportation Jack Burnn talked to authorities about the fire.

“He said a new bus will cost about $110,000,” Bado said. 

Kauffman estimated the damage to the destroyed vehicle to be about $40,000.

“For the buses that were exposed, the damage is about $10,000,” he said.

Firefighters were on the scene for about 45 minutes and no one was injured. The police department also reported to the scene. 

Superintendent Mark Monandaro said the district will file an insurance claim. For now, an extra bus is being used as a replacement.

Contact reporter Jessica Bagley at 693-1000, ext. 4150.