Cuyahoga Falls -- One Woodridge Local School district bus is expected to be a total loss, while a second one will be out of commission for a while following a fire that occurred on Dec. 18.

There were no reports of any injuries.

Walter Davis, superintendent for the district, said officials received a call from the Cuyahoga Falls Fire Department the evening of Dec. 18 saying there was a fire in the district's bus yard.

When safety forces responded, they found the district's Bus 1 "engulfed in flames," said Davis during the Board of Education meeting on Dec. 20. He added safety officials "moved quickly to get the rest of the fleet moved out of the way to try to minimize the damage done to the rest of the fleet."

Davis told the Board of Education that Bus 1 was purchased in 2010 and added, "We believe it will be a total loss once the insurance company takes a look at it."

Bus 15 -- which was parked next to Bus 1 -- has melted mirrors and broken windows, but will be fixed, according to Davis, who noted that parts had to be ordered for the vehicle. Bus 35 had some damage, but was addressed by maintenance officials and is already back on the road, Davis said. Davis later told the Falls News-Press he expects Bus 15 to be back on the road Jan. 4.

He added the Cuyahoga Falls Police Department said there did not appear to be any suspicious activity.

In its report, police stated, "It does not appear that there was any foul play and this may have been some type of electrical issue in the engine department and the fire started itself." In that same police report, the fire department also said it did not suspect foul play, and "stated it appears that somehow something in the engine compartment of that bus caught fire."

Vincent Spitali, the building and grounds supervisor for the district, told safety forces that the bus was last used the morning of Dec. 17 for a school event, according to the police report.

Davis said the district has four spare buses that it can use in place of the damaged vehicles. He noted officials hoped to acquire a new bus and to get Bus 15 back on the road "as soon as possible."

District treasurer Deanna Levenger said Nicole Kiser, the district's transportation supervisor, has contacted the maker of the bus to determine if other buses made by the same company have had similar problems.

Once issues are finalized with the insurance company regarding Bus 1, Levenger said she will start the process to purchase a new bus.

According to the police report, officers on Dec. 18 at 10:09 p.m. responded to a call from a nearby resident who reported several buses were on fire at the Woodridge Local School District bus area near the administration building at 4411 Quick Road.

Police reported that the fire department moved Bus 15 and Bus 35, both of which were next to Bus 1.

"The side mirrors of Bus 15 and Bus 35 appeared to have been melted from the flames of Bus 1," the police report said.

The fire department extinguished the blaze and police searched the area, but did not see any footprints in the snow, nor any holes in the fence.


Phone: 330-541-9421