Investigating bus safety measures after a Mobile County bus catc - FOX10 News | WALA

Investigating bus safety measures after a Mobile County bus catches fire

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School bus fire in Grand Bay. January 22, 2018. (FOX10 News) School bus fire in Grand Bay. January 22, 2018. (FOX10 News)

The Mobile County Public School System is working with the state fire marshal's office to investigate the cause of Monday's school bus fire.

FOX10 News Investigates contacted the Mobile County School System to find out how maintenance is handled on the buses your students ride. Rena Philips emailed FOX10 news this statement:

"Right now, we are involved in a complete and thorough investigation. We have no information or comments to share until that investigation is finished.
The safety of our students is our first priority in Mobile County Public Schools and we are taking this matter seriously."

Questions on the safety and inspections of school buses in the county school system, however, were not answered. FOX10 News went to another school system in Mobile County to see how their bus inspections are conducted.

Since 2012, FOX10 News has reported on at least three Mobile County school bus fires.
The one yesterday and another in 2016 being the most recent. 

Dr. Joe Walters is the Satsuma school superintendent as well as the transportation supervisor.  He says sights like yesterday are something no one wants to see.

"Anytime there's an accident involving school buses which transport students of course our first worry is did everything work like it was supposed to in an emergency," Dr. Walters said.

When it comes to making sure Satsuma city school buses are safe, Dr. Walters says he cuts no corners. Since Dr. Walters has been with the Satsuma Public School System, no bus fires have occurred, a trend he works to continue. 

"All school buses in public schools are inspected at least monthly by certified and trained bus mechanics which we all have," Dr. Walters said.

State representatives come down once a month to certify the buses are road safe. Plus, drivers are required to perform a daily pre- trip and post trip inspection. 

"Pre-trip inspection is the one that's the most complete and it includes such as brakes are the air-brakes holding pressure? Are all the fluid levels including transmission and oil, are they where they're supposed to be? Are all the lights operating? Post trip is a very quick walk to make sure, one, that nobody is left on the bus and, two, to make sure that you haven't hit something, picked it up in the road and hear your tire going down," Dr. Walters added.

Dr. Walters says the most important piece of equipment did its part in Monday's Mobile County bus fire.

 "The number one safety piece of equipment, always, is the driver and in that case, the driver reacted very well, very timely. Everything turned out well except for the bus, but we can live with that," Dr. Walters said.

Baldwin County Public Schools' director of communications, Terry Wilhite, says in the past 12 years, there have been no bus fires in the Baldwin County School System. 

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