School bus leaving lot catches fire minutes later, official says

No one was injured in a school bus fire in Richland Center Tuesday afternoon, a school official said.

Richland Center High School Assistant Principal Caleb Hundt said the bus driver noticed some electrical issues as he was pulling out of the high school parking lot shortly before 4 p.m. The bus driver pulled the bus over to the side of the road between the high school and the sports complex parking lot. With the help of the groundskeeper, all of the students were evacuated from the bus safely.

District Administrator Jarred Burke said he was proud of the emergency management that took place and considering the danger that could come with a fire, it was the best outcome.

“Property can be replaced. I’m so glad that the kids weren’t hurt in any way,” Burke said. “Freak things sometimes happen. When an accident happens, that’s what you have the emergency protocol in place for and everybody did a great job.”

There were about 20 students aboard the bus, Hundt said. Another bus was dispatched, and the children were transported home safely.

Burke said the bus is a complete loss. The bus that caught fire was part of an all-new propane-powered fleet for 2016 owned by Kobussen Buses. He said the incident is under investigation.