Massive Fire Destroys 40 School Vans

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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  • Miranda P

    Pretty grim situation at the STA Coraopolis School Bus Garage: all the mini busses and vans are parked inside that building, and the Cornell SD busses are parked outside against the building. Besides the issues mentioned in the newscast that the firefighters face, the monthly diesel fuel delivery had just been received yesterday.

  • allie

    ya…. im a student at moon. it really sucks becuase were closed its now the 14th we may have to make up. but it may be like the wind day of 08 no make up.

  • Patricia

    My kids go to MASD and one goes to wesley Highland and when the kids need that extra help this really hurts them. My daughtor goes to Wesley Highland through Moon and was in tears because she can’t go to school today.

    • allie

      it is never good… i hope we dont have to make this up. we have enought days. we have a couple kids on our (probably ex) bus that go to st. joe’s but depend on moon for a ride.

  • Miranda P

    I drive for MASD. When I arrived to work at STA at 5:20am, the Fire Dept wouldn’t let me close to the area. The fire was at the Watt St end, and the flames were pretty high and the smoke very heavy. Depending on when the fire dept allows it, I’ll be going back in this afternoon to help clean up. I hope the damage isn’t too bad and we can roll as usual tomorrow morning.

  • D M P

    Just spoke to a friend, and her son works there, Thoughts and prayers to all involved and affected by this tragedy. Thank god for no injuries or death.

    • allie

      are the busses destoryed

  • Anna

    I am very sorry for the owners and all the employees affected by this fire

  • Alaina Fuller Frederick

    Not a good thing. Our son was excited but when I reminded him because of the strike they have lost a lot of vacation days and they’d probably have to make this up to he was sad. Very happy that no one was hurt – will be interesting to see what happens now and how it started to begin with.

  • Patricia

    I just hope that they find the person or persons that did this it really only hurts the kids. How much damage was done in the fire and are the mini buses able to run?

  • DeeD

    Both of my brothers are Volunteer Firemen. I could see the extreme flames and smoke from my home-and the hoses shooting water onto the blaze. It was a fridgid morning – God Bless our Volunteer Firemen! And, I thank God that no nearby homes were involved! Thank you, Firemen from all Stations!

    • joyce

      Yes thank you to the firemen/women who were there as volunteers. They missed work to be out in the cold weather to fight this fire. They are the bravest in the communitys.

  • allie

    i dont think they can run… i wonder if they will send us back on monday…. if the buses can get out of the wreckage

  • Grammer Nazi

    @ Allie

    I hope you can return to school soon so you can learn how to form complete sentences.

  • Deb

    From what I have heard, it is only the mini buses and vans that were affected. Has anyone heard if the regular buses were also affected?

    And to Grammer Nazi. Maybe Allie is a mother that is busy and only just her thoughts down as phrases unlike other who have too much time on their hands correcting everyone elses grammer.

  • Jake

    I woke up to see this humongous blaze, thankfully noone was hurt, but I’m even more thankful that we don’t have school =]

  • Grammer Nazi


    If you read the comments you would notice that Allie states that she is a student. Maybe you should go back to school and learn to pay attention to details.

    • Mom24

      Re Grammer Nazi: Please look up the correct spelling of grammer. There is no such word as grammer. The word is GRAMMAR.

    • Patricia

      for everthing that you have what about what happened today the people who lost their business and those who lost work today what about them and all the students that were out of class due to this event that happened seems to me that you just like to pick on people do you really have nothing better to do with your time or what if you do have something else that you can then just go and do it already……………………………….

  • Deb

    OMG Who peed in your Wheaties today. You must be a really unhappy person to insult preople whether its a student is probably upset and was going to school today for the support of a fellow classmate who died and now if up in the air as to when they will be going back. You need to take a major chill pill Gramer Nazi and remember that it is the Christmas season but then agian you would probably have something to say about mentioning Christmas on a comment site also.

  • Allie

    We have had enought problems with our schdule already. I heard, that roads where the buses are required to leave from in corey are covered in ice.
    Also @ Grammar Nazi
    Grammar Nazi, I admit I did have some misspellings but you don’t have to point them out. It is not a big deal. And your name might be found offensive by some. Atleast, unlike most kids, I pay attention to the news and care about whats happening in the community.

  • Tina

    This is terrible what happened. i know the owner of the business whose shop was connected to the bus company and he has lost everything. All the bickering about mispelled words is completely irrelevant to what is going on. These people are speaking their mind about a tragic situation. My thoughts and prayers go out to everyone affected by this.

  • Jake

    I drove down past the location of the bus station, and all you smelled was straight rubber burning and smoke, it’s a terrible situation, but as a student from Cornell, I don’t mind the cancellation =]. Also, GrammAr Nazi, you must be demented in the head. This girl is probably in 9th grade, I’m sure when you went to school, if you even did, you made spelling mistakes in 9th grade. I’m a senior and still make spelling mistakes, noone’s perfect, leave her alone.

  • Miranda P

    The fire was at the Watt St end of the bus terminal. The pallet company was consumed. I and several other drivers spent the day taking the vans, minis, and full size busses to car/bus washes, as they had quite a bit of soot all over them. I think we (STA) lost only 5-8 vans, but I forgot to ask how many of those were minis. A restoration crew is spending the next several hours going over the interiors of all busses to get rid of the smoke scent.

  • Patricia

    For now we can say that things are not at a total loss but I heart goes out to all that was effect by this today. I think that we really need to think about how we treat each other if you now what I mean things have been siad today that have been rude MASD Students have been trough enough this year with the strike and the lose of a classmate and now this what else can happen to them and this is the Holydays what next.

  • Patricia Gayle Williamson

    It was great that the buses was up and running today

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