WILMINGTON, NC (WWAY) – The state is asking school districts to inspect their buses for engine wiring that could lead to the engines exploding.
The directive comes after several explosions around the state that left buses charred … and students as well as parents on edge.
State leaders asked districts that have buses with a Caterpillar engine in them to be inspected.
Locally, Bladen County schools say they followed a 2011 memo to inspect buses that may have the faulty engines and removed them from their fleet. School district spokeswoman Valeria Newton saying:
“A service bulletin (DPI Msg #539) was sent out several years ago (2011) from the state school bus transportation department requesting LEA’s to replace an engine equipment part (the same part currently in question) that could potentially cause a bus fire. Our district transportation department complied with the request and replaced the part on a couple of buses at the time the service bulletin was sent out. We’ve had no problems prior to or since related to the replacement part that is currently in question.We do not have any buses involved in the current directive due to our response to the request in 2011.”
“Every 28 days these buses are inspected to meet North Carolina General Statute 115C-248(a) and (NCSBP -TCS-H-011). Twice a year we run a special campaign to check wear and deterioration.”
New Hanover county schools said they too are addressing the state’s request. New Hanover County school Transportation Director Ken Nance saying:
“We do have buses with the Cat engines. About 7 years ago, we made the repair/modifications based on guidance from DPI. All buses are also inspected monthly. This past Wednesday, we specifically inspected all the yellow buses with the Cat engines and all but three of the activity buses with the Cat engines. The remainder will be inspected next week.”
We were not able to get a hold of Columbus or Pender County schools before the story aired.