Four Lee County school buses catch fire
Fox 4 News Staff
Photo: Video by fox4now.com
FORT MYERS, Fla. - Officials are investigating what caused a fire to break out at a Lee County schools transportation center.
"You can see the buses in the background there," pointed Ricky Henley, who lives near the Buckingham Exceptional Student Center.
On what had been a sleepy Mother's Day morning in Fort Myers, a fire broke out half a mile from Henley's home.
"We don't have any fires or anything," added Henley. "Nothing goes on around here. So, it's unsual."
The Lee County School district says four buses were melted after flames ripped through the parking lot of the Buckingham Exceptional Student Center off Buckingham Road. What remains is shattered glass, twisted metal and burned tires. Neighbors Henley and Shane Stahl were sleeping when flames tore through the bus depot, where150 buses are kept.
"It's pretty crazy that the buses obviously caught on fire," expressed Stahl.
Authorities say just after 4 a.m. on Sunday, three witnesses called 911. It took firefighters 24 minutes to extinguish the blaze. Robert Morgan, the executive transportation director of Lee County Schools, hopes surveillance tapes help solve the case.
" I can tell you that it's very seldom that buses like this sit and just catch fire," explained Morgan.
A fire that thankfully caused no injuries and will not disrupt school on Monday. Save for a little discomfort on the spare buses to replace the burned ones.
"The impact it has on the students is they will not have air conditioned buses in the morning," added Morgan.
A small price for a fire that could have been worse.
"I'm glad it didn't burn more than it did," concluded Henley.
Firefighters have not determined the cause of the blaze. The Fire Marshall will begin investigating on Monday.
And district officials say they'll also be checking out six additional buses, three on each side of the burned ones. They say the damage will cost about $400,000 dollars. Each replacement bus is estimated at $110,000. Insurance is expected to pick up the tab.