Richland 2 school bus destroyed by fire

Published: May. 26, 2016 at 11:35 AM EDT|Updated: May. 26, 2016 at 10:56 PM EDT
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RICHLAND COUNTY, SC (WIS) - A Richland School District 2 school bus caught fire in northeast Columbia on Thursday morning.

The bus, a 1995 model, caught fire on Summit Parkway Extension at Ridgetrail at about 7 a.m. Thursday.

RELATED: See photos of the school bus.

A spokesperson for Richland School District 2 says the bus was for special needs students. It was on a middle school route when it broke down. The driver, and aide and one student on board got off the bus when the driver smelled smoke. Then, it caught fire once everyone was safely off.

"I kind of felt nervous," said driver Lanisha Smith, "but I also know that I had to be calm about the situation and I didn't want to startle my other help. So, I had to be calm and do the right procedure and get it done as quickly as possible."

No injuries were reported from the fire. However, the fire destroyed the bus, which is one Smith said she has used most of her time with the district.

Smith said she inspects her vehicles each day to ensure they are ready for the day ahead. Both she and district officials say they could see no problem with it that would have contributed to the fire.

State officials told WIS assessment for school buses happen numerous times throughout the course of the year. In some cases, they come on a daily basis.

Officials said a simple problem as a stop arm not working is enough to keep a bus off of the road.

Richland Two officials said some of the buses were brought back into the district as far back as 1988. For that reason, they said the state can have its hands full with bus repair work.

"They're limited on the number of mechanics they have and the age of the fleet sometimes pose a problem all the way around," Richland Two spokesman Jack Wix said. "So, on the occasion, you'll get little longer than normal wait times but a lot of that is beyond their control."

Any parent that has concerns about the bus their child is riding on should reach out to the South Carolina Department of Education for more information.

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