SOMERSET N.J., (CBS) – A pre-school student in central New Jersey was left alone on a bus for nearly five hours — in yesterday’s frigid temperatures.

In a statement, Superintendent Edward Seto of Franklin Township Public Schools says a bus driver did not drop off one of their pre-school students at school Tuesday morning in Somerset.

READ: Franklin Township Public Schools Statement from the Superintendent Regarding Bus Incident on January 28 2014 final

Seto says the child was found about five hours later when the driver returned to the vehicle to start his return route.  The driver contacted the township’s transportation office and brought the child there where he was checked out by medics. His mother was contacted and took the child home.

According to the superintendent, the bus is equipped with a safety alarm which is activated when the engine is turned off. The alarm is deactivated through a mechanism on the back door. Seto says the intent of the alarm system is to ensure that the driver goes to the back of the vehicle and checks for children.

According to Seto, it was reported that the driver went around the outside of the van to deactivate the alarm. The superintendent also says the driver indicated to a staff member at the school that the vehicle was empty.

In addition, Seto says the school district is conducting an internal investigation because the child’s absence was somehow marked “verified,” so a phone call was not made alerting the child’s parent that the student was not in attendance.

Seto says they have been informed that the bus company has fired the driver. The bus company has not responded to CBSPhilly’s inquiries at this time.

Franklin Township Police are investigating the incident.  Police say further details will be released once their investigation is completed.

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