Sunday, May 21, 2017

Montgomery Co. school bus fire causes $100K in damages at the Montgomery County Public Schools bus depot

Montgomery Co. school bus fire causes $100K in damages

By Nick Iannelli | @NickWTOP May 20, 2017 1:04 am

WASHINGTON, DC — Fire investigators in Montgomery County, Maryland are working to determine the cause behind a costly bus fire at the Montgomery County Public Schools bus depot on Crabbs Branch Way near Shady Grove Road.

The fire broke out around midnight Saturday morning and it was extinguished about half an hour later.

“When units arrived on scene they encountered a school bus fully engulfed in flames,” said Pete Piringer, a spokesman with Montgomery County Fire and Rescue.

One school bus was completely destroyed and others were damaged.

“There was some collateral damage to two buses that were parked nearby,” Piringer said.

Piringer described the bus depot as “a secure parking lot, monitored by cameras and videos.”

Investigators are still trying to figure out how the fire started, although Piringer said nothing suspicious has been found and the cause is believed to be accidental.

The fire caused more than $100,000 in damage.

The cause of fire is under investigation.

During the five-year period of 1999-2003, U.S. fire departments responded to an estimated average of 2,210 bus or school bus fires per year. These fires caused an estimated annual average of three civilian deaths, 30 civilian injuries, and $24.2 million in direct property damage per year. In 1999-2003, bus or school bus fires accounted for 1% of the total reported vehicle fires, 1% of the vehicle fire deaths, 2% of the vehicle fire injuries, and 2% of the vehicle fire property damage. On average, six bus or school bus fires were reported every day.

Buses present a unique combination of heavy work cycles and the use of various aftermarket electrical accessories that place them at risk for fires. An important step in preventing future incidents is in understanding what has caused fires in the past. The causes of bus fires generally fall into three distinct categories: electrical, friction at the wheel level, and engine component failures. Many of these incidents could have been prevented with an improved maintenance and inspection program.