School bus contractor Student Transportation of America said it is working with fire and police investigators in Bradford, New Hampshire to determine how a fire broke out that seriously injured two employees.
The state’s Fire Marshal Office said the employees were performing maintenance on a propane school bus the company operates for Kearsarge Regional School District, when an explosion occurred at about 11 a.m. local time on March 3. The Bradford Fire/Rescue Department requested the assistance of fire agencies in surrounding towns to combat the five-alarm fire.
The exact cause of the fire remains unknown.
Jen Holzapfel, STA’s public and media relations director, told School Transportation News on Tuesday that four school buses were destroyed and eight more damaged in the fire. Photos taken by local media indicated structures were also damaged, but at this report, Holzapfel did not provide further information on damages.
Kearsarge Superintendent Winfried Feneberg said on Monday that the incident could have been much worse.
“As much as it was a catastrophe to have that happen, it was a blessing to have that happen during winter break,” he noted.
Feneberg added that school resumed this week with “no hitches” because STA was able to mobilize school buses from other locations around the state, and neighboring districts also lent buses.
Crews were able to rescue the two STA employees, who suffered “significant burns” and were transported to Concord Hospital then flown by medical helicopters to Boston-area hospitals for treatment. At last report, they were listed in critical condition.
“Our thoughts are with these employees and their families. We wish them a swift and full recovery,” Holzapfel added.
The fire marshal added that the size of the fire, lack of a nearby water supply, and limited emergency personnel hampered the ability to quickly put out the flames.
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