Thousands of SC school buses being inspected after Rock Hill fire

Thousands of SC school buses being inspected after Rock Hill fire
(Courtesy: CN2)
(Courtesy: CN2)
(Courtesy: CN2)
(Courtesy: CN2)

ROCK HILL, SC (WBTV) - School officials in South Carolina say they need to inspect nearly 2,000 school buses after a fire broke out last week on a bus in Rock Hill. Nearly 300 of the buses that will be inspected are local.

The South Carolina Department of Education says it will inspect 1,950 Thomas rear engine school buses across the state after the fire broke out on a similar model bus last week. The buses undergoing scrutiny were built in 1995 and 1996.

A school bus - owned by South Carolina Department of Education but operated in the Rock Hill school district - caught fire Thursday evening in the school bus lot after driving an afternoon route.

The bus was taken to a state maintenance yard in Chester where officials determined the fire started as the result of a short in the cable connecting the alternator to the power steering pump.

"A short located in this area caused the cable to become excessively hot, comprising the power steering hose. Once the hose ruptured, power steering oil became a fuel source for the fire," spokesman Dino Teppara said.

In the wake of the fire, Teppara said, officials have ordered an inspection for all buses with the same cable configuration and routing. The inspection applies to 1995 and 1995 Thomas transit-style buses, the spokesman said.

Of the nearly 2,000 buses that will be inspected, 294 of them are in the WBTV viewing area, according to numbers obtained by On Your Side Investigates.

Here is how the numbers break down locally:

  • Chester Shop (Chester and York counties [Rock Hill district #3]) – 66 Buses
  • York Shop (Remainder of York county) – 39 Buses
  • Lancaster Shop - 24
  • Chesterfield Shop - 33
  • Spartanburg Shop (Spartanburg district #1, #4, #5, and #6) – 47 Buses
  • Converse Shop (Spartanburg district #2, #3, & #7) – 41 Buses
  • Cherokee Shop (Cherokee and Union counties) – 44 Buses

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