A fire that destroyed one Asheville City School District school bus and damaged three more was set intentionally, said the Asheville Fire Department.
A 911 call just after 3 a.m. on Sunday morning alerted police to a fire in the bus yard near Vance Elementary School. Four of the district’s 29 school buses were impacted. One had “major fire damages,” while one seat on each of two other buses was minimally damaged and the last bus escaped fire damages.
The alley awning on a school building that the most severely burned bus was parked near also suffered damage. Though no damage to the school was reported, smoke entered the gym and circulated throughout the building.
The four affected buses were moved to the Buncombe County bus garage to be inspected. Within hours of the fire being extinguished, the maintenance department arrived to begin cleanup, and the district released information on bus substitutions.
Members from the state fire marshal’s office were on scene Sunday morning to investigate the fire. The fire department stated on Monday morning that initial investigation revealed the fire to be “intentionally set.”
“Asheville City Schools has been collaborating with the Asheville Fire Department, Asheville Police Department and Buncombe County Schools Transportation Department during the investigation,” the district said. “We appreciate the efforts of our public service leaders to help us ensure that our students arrive to and from school safely and have a successful day.”
Asheville City Schools transports 2,400 students over 1,700 miles each day.