CHILLICOTHE, Mo. — School leaders in Chillocothe are relieved that vandalism does not appear to be the cause of a massive fire at their bus barn, which destroyed eight school buses Sunday night.
With only two-and-a-half weeks left of school, Chillocothe school leaders say they’ll “manage”.
According to officials, eight school buses caught fire and exploded in the blaze, which broke out around 10:00 p.m. on Sunday evening. Chillicothe Police say that the explosions were caused by the propane fuel tanks on the buses catching fire.
Chillicothe Fire Chief Darrell Wright said firefighters will continue to investigate, but the fire appeared to be accidental and started due to electrical issues inside of the building.
“At this point there’s absolutely nothing that would indicate any vandalism,”Chief Wright said. “It looks like it is probably the old building electrical system. We have pretty good video footage from a neighboring business here, a security photo, from some of the first arriving on the scene so the investigators were able to piece it together.”
Chief Wright said the fuel in the buses caused the fire to spread quickly.
“It’s nice to know it was not individuals or vandalism of any kind we’ve had a very secure site here for some time to the best of my knowledge we’ve never had any problems here,” said Dr. Roger Barnes, superintendent.
The superintendent said the remaining buses will pick up the students without a ride.
It took firefighters about 30 minutes to get the fire under control.
“That’s a big loss for the school district,” Chillicothe Mayor Chuck Haney said.
FOX 4 spoke to one bus driver who says at first she thought it was a joke.
“It’s pretty heartbreaking. Pretty heartbreaking,” said Nancy Hudgins, a bus driver. “I mean I have personal stuff on there, so yeah, kinda devastating to see our bus is gone. I been with the district 16 years , never had anything like this happen.”