Warsaw classes expected to resume Friday after fire at bus garage

WARSAW, Ind. (WANE) – Several fire departments responded to the Warsaw Community Schools Transportation building to battle a large fire Thursday morning.

The fire forced the cancellation of classes Thursday across the district.

Firefighters were called around 5:50 a.m. to the facility at 350 East 200 North after two drivers inside the building smelled and saw smoke and called 911. No injuries were reported.

Warsaw Community Schools Superintendent Dr. David Hoffert said six buses were inside the garage at the time of the fire. Four full-sized buses and a mini bus were destroyed. Another bus didn’t appear to suffer any damage.

Warsaw Transportation Fire2Crews worked for several hours to put out flames and extinguish hot spots. Parts of the building’s roof collapsed because of the intense heat.

Kosciusko County Sheriff’s Department Sergeant Chad Hill said there was no indication for the cause of the fire to be suspicious. Investigators have not determined what caused the blaze.

Hoffert speculated Thursday morning that a bus with previous mechanical issues could have been a culprit.

“We did have one bus that had been having some electrical and mechanical issues a few days ago,” Hoffert told NewsChannel 15. “That was one of the buses that was inside, but at this point that’s really unconfirmed.”

Hoffert said area school districts had reached out offering any help. Classes were expected to resume Friday and bus routes will operate as normal. Hoffert said a number of keys were inside the building which prevented drivers from taking buses out. About half of the district’s buses are parked at the building and the other half go home with drivers. Hoffert estimated the district provides transportation for about 5,000 students.

The transportation facility is the only building for WCS and school officials were looking at options for temporary maintenance facilities.

The district’s insurance adjuster was onsite Thursday morning, but it’s unclear on the total amount of damages or how long it might take to rebuild.

Besides buses, tools, routing information and other equipment were damaged or destroyed.

Hoffert said the buses that were destroyed in the fire would not interrupt service to students. The district took delivery of six new buses on Thursday, but none were in the garage.

Hill said the location of the bus facility is actually in the county. After the 911 call, the Plain Township Fire Department (in Leesburg) was dispatched, but crews were just finishing up at another structure fire. That prompted an immediate, dual response from Warsaw firefighters. At least four fire departments were called to battle the flames. Police blocked off surrounding roads, rerouting traffic for several hours. The facility sits near several buildings for Zimmer Biomet and other industrial facilities.

 

 

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