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Empty school bus catches fire

Tom Bishop, CKSD transportation supervisor, surveys the damage caused by an engine fire on one of the district’s reserve buses. - Photo by Celeste Cornish
Tom Bishop, CKSD transportation supervisor, surveys the damage caused by an engine fire on one of the district’s reserve buses.
— image credit: Photo by Celeste Cornish

An engine fire knocked a 24-year-old school bus out of commission this week. On Tuesday, veteran bus driver Cheryl Rogers was in the bus outside Cougar Valley Elementary School at about 3:27 p.m., waiting to pick up children after school. It had already been used for one route that day and there were no children on the bus at the time of the fire.

While Rogers was waiting, she began to smell the odor of burning plastic, according to a press release from Central Kitsap Fire & Rescue. She then turned off the bus and noticed light gray smoke coming from the engine compartment, which was located in the middle of the bus in front of the rear axle.

Rogers notified the school staff, then she and fellow bus driver Tom Buehler grabbed their fire extinguishers and fought the fire until CKF&R arrived. They were unable to stop the fire because of where the fire was located and because oil, grease and fuel were all components of the fire, according to the press release.

Central Kitsap Fire & Rescue crews got to the school within 10 minutes of being called, said Doug Sander, district transportation director.

The bus, a model year 1981, was in the district’s reserve fleet. The bus had about 380,000 miles on it and, if the bus were sold at auction, would have gotten the district about $500, Sander said.

The bus was being used because the

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