School bus fire calls attention to safety inspections

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ASHEBORO, N.C. -- A fire on a Charlotte-Mecklenburg school bus on Wednesday happened on a bus commonly used in North Carolina, and that has brought attention to bus safety inspections.

The fire took place on a Freightliner FS-65 bus. Freightliner is the parent company of Thomas Built Buses, based in High Point. Derek Clark, Randolph County Schools transportation director, said he has about 50 buses of that model.

Clark got an email from the Department of Public Instruction on Friday, saying there was a recall on the wiring harnesses on that bus model in May.

"The harness wires are deteriorating, and they kind of just stressed that we need to replace those if they get worn out," Clark said.

The email did not say if that's what caused Wednesday's fire in Charlotte. A spokesperson for Thomas Built said in a statement Friday the company is speaking with the school system to figure out the cause.

The state requires school systems to inspect each school bus once a month. As a result, Clark said nobody should be concerned about school bus safety.

The driver got six students off the bus before the fire engulfed it.

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