No injuries after Dutch Fork Elementary School bus catches fire

Published: Oct. 19, 2016 at 12:24 PM EDT|Updated: Oct. 19, 2016 at 7:00 PM EDT
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COLUMBIA, SC (WIS) - Forty-nine students from Dutch Fork Elementary School were able to evacuate just in time before their school bus caught fire, according to officials with Lexington-Richland School District 5.

District spokesman Mark Bounds said students reported the smell of smoke coming from the 1995 Thomas engine school bus as it approached the school and were immediately evacuated.

RELATED: See photos of the school bus fire scene.

Moments later, the bus caught fire after all students had safely evacuated.

According to Irmo Fire Marshal Jeff Allen smoke from the fire could be seen "from a long way away."

Dave Weissman, transportation director with Lexington-Richland 5, says the bus, owned by the state Department of Education, had 241,000 miles on it and these model buses had been under scrutiny because four other similar buses caught fire.

"Unfortunately with the number of miles they put on, the vehicles have a tendency to catch fire," Weissman said. "When you look at the number of buses versus the number of miles, average wise it's not that great, but when it happens it makes news. It's a big event for us."

All school buses are required to be inspected each year. No word on if this bus had been inspected this year.

No one was injured.

Investigators are now trying to determine the cause of the fire. The bus will be towed to the state bus yard where the cause of the fire will be investigated.

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