ANDERSON, S.C. — A school bus here caught fire minutes before dozens of students would have been aboard and soon after others were dropped off on Wednesday afternoon, Anderson Independent Mail reports.

Kyle Newton, a spokesman for Anderson County School District 5, told the newspaper that the 1995 model bus had dropped off students at two schools about 15 minutes before its engine caught fire, and had been headed to pick up more students at another school. No students were aboard at the time, and the driver got out of the bus safely.

Newton also told Anderson Independent Mail that many districts have had to deal with safety concerns because of aging buses, and that the district is grateful that no students were aboard and the driver is safe.

As SBF previously reported, South Carolina is the only state in the U.S. that owns the school buses that transport students throughout the state, and its fleet is one of the oldest in the nation. In June, Gov. Henry McMaster and his staff vetoed over $20 million in state budget funds that were intended to replace aging buses.

Another school bus fire occurred in November, on a bus that was transporting 29 high school students in Greenville County, according to Anderson Independent Mail. The driver noticed smoke and small flames coming from the rear of the bus and pulled over. No one was injured in the incident, the newspaper reports.

Additionally, in May, another 1995 model school bus in Duncan, South Carolina, caught fire while students were being transported. The driver, Teresa Stroble, was able to safely evacuate all 56 students on board.

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