NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WKRN) – A Metro school bus caught fire in Inglewood Tuesday but no students were on board when flames overtook the front of the bus.
Just after 6 a.m. the bus driver started the engine near Saunders Avenue and Walton Lane when she smelled smoke.
“She heard some hissing, popping sounds and immediately knew something was not right,” said Taffy Marsh, the Executive Director of Transportation for Metro Nashville Schools.
The driver, who has been driving for Metro Schools for 5 1/2 years, turned off the bus and called the fire department.
Fire crews got the fire under control before it spread to a nearby carport and home. Investigators believe an electrical issue, possibly related to the heater, started the blaze.
No one was hurt, but the bus is considered a total loss. A replacement bus was called in so the driver could begin her route.
What if students had been on the bus? What would have happened? News 2 asked.
“If this fire had happened with students on the bus, we would have evacuated that bus very quickly,” said Marsh.
Marsh told News 2 the school trains student on bus evacuation procedures twice a year. All buses are also inspected for issues about once a month.
News 2 also inquired about the history of the bus that caught fire. We learned on November 5, 2015 the bus was examined and passed its annual state inspection.
On March 8, 2016 the bus was examined for preventative maintenance, which included an electrical inspection and it passed with no issues.
On March 30, the bus driver brought the bus in for problems with the bottom flasher and inspectors discovered the lights were simply unplugged.
“I don’t want any of our parents or students to worry about riding on a Metro school bus. We take every known precaution to keep our buses safe,” said Marsh.
The Tennessee Department of Safety and Homeland Security and the bus’ manufacturer are investigating the exact cause of today’s electrical fire.
The bus was taken to Midsouth Bus Sales in Murfreesboro TN, where the bus is being examined.