OREFIELD, Pa. (CBS) — Classes in one Lehigh County school district were canceled on Friday after a massive fire destroyed part of its fleet of school buses.
Fire officials have no word on what caused the fire at the 10,000-square-foot garage as they spent most of the day sifting through debris.
The fire ripped through the Parkland School District’s East Bus Garage around 3 a.m. in Orefield, causing nearly $2 million in damage.
The blaze raged for over an hour and took about 75 firefighters to put it out.
In the end, 16 recently purchased school buses were burned down to their frames and totaled.
“We had approximately nine to 14 buses adjacent to the garage that also experienced some damage because there were some explosions,” said Parkland School District Superintendent Richard Sniscak. “We lost some windshields, some mirrors and headlights.”
“The explosions that everybody is reporting was the tires that were popping off the buses as the fire was going on,” said Woodlawn Fire Department Chief James Kutz. “That was kind of loud and people were nervous about that.”
Despite the intensity of the fire and all the damage left behind, no one was hurt.
School had to be canceled in the district because the school buses destroyed and damaged 25 percent of the district’s fleet.
Officials say they are optimistic school will resume on Monday, but will send an updated message to all families by 3 p.m. on Sunday to confirm.
“Many of our surrounding school districts have offered us surplus buses that they may have or are getting us in touch with their contractor who may have surplus buses,” said Sniscak. “We feel pretty good that we will have school Monday. I’m pretty optimistic.
The district says these 16 new buses that were destroyed were still under warranty and will be replaced in full under the warranty.
That will take months, however, so the help from nearby school districts will go a long way in ensuring all students can go to school next week.