CARY, N.C. — A school bus that caught fire here on Thursday apparently underwent a maintenance inspection earlier in the day, according to school district records.

At around 4:20 p.m., the Wake County Public School System bus was transporting an elementary student home when the bus driver noticed smoke coming from the front of the bus, district officials told The News & Observer. The bus driver followed safety protocol, pulled onto the shoulder of Highway 55, and safely evacuated the bus with the student. The Cary Fire Department responded to the scene and extinguished the fire. No one was injured.

Maintenance records of the bus, obtained by the newspaper, indicated that the bus was cleared from inspection earlier that day at around 3:14 p.m. On Monday, school district officials told The News & Observer that during the summer the bus had been removed from service for repairs.

Lisa Luten, a spokeswoman for Wake County Public School System, said in an email to that all of the district’s buses are required to “undergo an inspection once every 30 days, along with checks by bus drivers before and after each bus run.” She also said that “buses are pulled from service when repairs are required.”

The cause of the fire is currently under investigation, with help from the state Department of Public Instruction’s school transportation division, The News & Observer reports. School district officials told the newspaper that the fire may have been caused by a failure in the air conditioning system.

Watch a video clip of the bus fire, posted on Twitter by @SultanovicMU, below.

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Sadiah Thompson

Sadiah Thompson

Assistant Editor

Sadiah Thompson is an assistant editor at School Bus Fleet magazine.

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