CORAOPOLIS (KDKA) -A massive five-alarm fire in Coraopolis destroyed 40 school vans and forced two school districts to cancel school Tuesday.
The fire broke out in the 200-block of Kendall Street around 5 a.m.
The school bus garage is owned by Student Transportation America, which serves the Moon Area School District and the Cornell School District.
According to officials, 40 school vans were destroyed in the blaze and one-third of the two-block structure suffered serious damage.
As of noon, there were still hot spots flaring up at the scene, but they are being allowed to burn themselves out.
“It was frightening because I know there’s so much fuel down here. All these buses are filled with diesel and they have the diesel fuel stored down here,” Eric Bryant said.
An employee was getting ready for the morning runs and called 911 after discovering smoke coming from the building.
“Our terminal manager came in this morning, as usual, to make sure all our equipment would be ready to run for school today, and found smoke coming from the building and immediately called 911,” Pete Pearson of Student Transportation America said.
Firefighters had to deal with a fire that had been burning for a period of time before they arrived and temperatures that caused water to freeze.
“Everything, including us, is frozen. But we did have a good water supply and called in neighboring communities for assistance,” Coraopolis Fire Department Chief Larry Byrge said.
The county fire marshal is on the scene to try and determine the cause of the fire.
Both school districts will have classes on Wednesday.
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