NewsLEX 18 Investigates


A closer look at the make and model of the Scott County school bus that caught fire

scott county school bus catches fire.jpg
Posted at 6:40 PM, Sep 27, 2021
and last updated 2021-09-27 19:26:48-04

(LEX 18) — The cause of the fire that totaled a Scott County school bus that had been carrying members of the high school football team is still under investigation.

Scott County school buses have a regular service check every month. The school bus that burned Friday night had its last service check on September 7, according to documents provided by the school district. No problems were reported other than a weather strip that had to be reglued.

Incoming Scott County superintendent Billy Parker told LEX 18 on Monday that the bus was a total loss after Friday’s fire.

“Somewhere in that rear axel area it does appear that's what the issue was, there's a thought perhaps there was a bearing locked up or seized and that caused the extreme temperature that might have caused some grease to catch fire,” Parker said.

An observant truck driver noticed a fire around the rear wheel of the bus and flagged down the driver. Everyone was able to evacuate the bus safely.

The bus in question was a 2017 Blue Birdmodel with a rear engine, according to the documents provided by the school district.

Some buses of that model, also known as the Blue Bird All American, were subject to a recall in 2019. But the school district said Monday that this particular bus and the districts’ other buses did not fall under the recall.

The recallmentions a problem with the air disc brake of the rear driver-side wheel that could cause extreme heat, potentially leading to smoke or fire. In buses included in the recall, the problem can cause an unintended “reduction in the gap” between the brake pad and rotor, which can cause a dragging brake.

The district said Monday that none of Scott County’s buses have air disc brakes, and that it was too early to say whether they will need to check their other buses for a similar problem as a precaution. The district said it will follow any advice given after the cause of Friday night’s fire is determined.

All Scott County buses are checked daily before being driven.