NC Transportation, CFD join investigation after CMS bus catches - | WBTV Charlotte

NC Transportation, CFD join investigation after CMS bus catches fire

(Steve Crump | WBTV) (Steve Crump | WBTV)
CHARLOTTE, NC (WBTV) -

Charlotte-Mecklenburg School (CMS) District has released the inspection report of the last time Bus 364 was checked before it burst into flames Thursday evening.

Sixteen students from South Mecklenburg High School and the bus driver were on board when the accident happened. No one was hurt.

The date of the inspection of Bus 364 was October 6, and everything checked out. According to school mechanics, there was no indication the bus was unsafe to travel. The report did show some issues ranging from a faulty AC to the top left door hinge broken.

Document: Click here to read the full inspection

North Carolina State Transportation leaders are now helping in the investigation. They will come to the district Monday to examine the bus and inform other school districts if there is a problem.

"We take an incident like this seriously," NC DPI Transportation Section Chief Kevin Harrison said. "And if we can determine a probable cause, we'll make all LEA's ( Local Education Agency) aware of the potential issue."

School buses are inspected every 30 days to make sure safety remains a top priority.

"It's a very important part of keeping those vehicles safe," Harrison said. "And thankfully these incidents are rare."

CMS released this statement Friday about its plans moving forward:

As with any incident related to the safety and welfare of CMS students and staff, Thursday's fire on board school bus #364 is of major concern for the district. We are grateful that the bus driver and the 16 students on board responded quickly, were unharmed, and returned to their homes and families safely.

Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools (CMS) is committed to safe transportation services for the more than 127,000 students on board CMS vehicles each day. All CMS buses undergo a complete annual maintenance review, are required to be inspected every 30 days and are pulled from service for needed repairs or replacements identified by inspection. CMS Transportation maintenance staff completed a routine 30-day inspection for bus # 364 on October 6, 2017 and the bus was returned to service after routine maintenance services were performed.

A multi-party investigation to determine the cause of the fire on board bus # 364 is underway. As part of this active investigation by CMS transportation staff and maintenance and safety experts, CMS Transportation has requested and will receive assistance from the North Carolina Department of Public Instruction's school bus transportation division. CMS Transportation has also requested the assistance of a fire inspector from the Charlotte Fire Department in the investigation.

Results of this investigation will be released as they are available and CMS will respond as needed to protect the safety of CMS students and staff across the district.

Previous: School bus catches fire with students on board

Harrison says if issues are found in CMS' transportation department, the state will speak up.

"We take a very strong stance," Harrison said. "And school bus safety should be the safest mode of transportation. We're going to tell them everything that we see that could lead to any problems."

There is no word how long the inspection will take.

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