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Borrowed buses

Borrowed buses

Mar 19, 2017 - By Alejandra Silva, Staff Writer

Following garage fire, other schools come through for District 25

School buses from Casper, Thermopolis, Basin, Shoshoni, Ethete, Arapahoe and Lander picked up and dropped off Riverton students before and after school Wednesday after more than a dozen Riverton buses were damaged in a fire Monday night.

"Everything is business as usual - other than we're using borrowed buses until we get ours back," School District 25 transportation supervisor Mike Forget said.

A full-sized bus caught fire Monday while it was parked with 15 other buses in the school district's bus garage at 701 E. Sunset Drive. It took 20 Riverton Volunteer Fire Department firefighters and four fire engines to extinguish the fire.

The Wyoming Department of Fire Prevention and Electrical Safety determined that the cause was most likely due to an electrical fire in the engine. The Wyoming State Fire Marshal was in Riverton to inspect the damage and cleanup work Friday.

The sprinkler system in the bus garage activated immediately and contained the fire, which engulfed the bus involved. None of the other buses caught fire, but smoke traveled throughout the garage and left wet smoke residue behind.

Cleaning crew

Riverton, Lander and Arapaho transportation personnel and maintenance staff volunteered to help clean the impacted buses. Crews gathered on Tuesday to scrub the floors of the garage and the inside and outside of the buses.

However, a professional company will arrive in Riverton to clean the buses to specifications and certify that they can be used. Then, school district mechanics will inspect the buses from headlight to taillight, Forget said.

"We hope to have this done by the end of spring break," he said.

Spring break for Riverton is from March 27-31.

"The following Monday, if everything goes right we should have these buses back in service," Forget said.

Buses to lend

A total of 23 buses were borrowed from other school districts. Everyone that Forget called for help agreed to provide buses or people to help clean the affected buses, he said.

"We're one big family," he said. "It's amazing that we all pulled together like this. In less than 24 hours we got back up and running."

Forget said many school districts were on spring break and so were able to provide up to five buses from their pool of "extra" vehicles. Some buses used for winter sports also were available because those seasons ended last weekend.

By Wednesday morning, Riverton bus drivers were back to work. All bus routes, including those for after-school programs, were back in service. Borrowed buses are being stationed in the parking lot of the bus garage, while the district's buses are at the central administration building at 121 North 5th Street West.

No revenge

During the Riverton school board meeting Tuesday night, finance manager Lu Beecham made an amusing comment that Worland school district officials had called to reassure Riverton that Worland didn't cause the fire because of the Worland Warriors' championship game loss to the Riverton High School boys basketball team March 11.

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