CMS announces 5-point response following recent school bus fires

CMS leaders announced a five-point plan following Tuesday's school bus fire in Pineville. The fire marks the third school bus to catch on fire this calendar year. 

“We are unequivocally committed to doing everything possible to protect the safety and well-being of students, whether they be in the classroom, on the athletic field, in any CMS facility, involved in any CMS activity or on a CMS school bus,” Tracy Russ, chief communications officer said. 

Related: Fire engulfs school bus in Pineville, authorities investigating

On Tuesday, a school bus caught fire as it was traveling along Downs Road. The only person onboard the school bus was the driver and she was able to get out without any injuries.

It's still unclear what caused the CMS school bus to go up in flames. 

Chief Operations Officer Carol Stamper outlined a series of steps the district is taking to ensure student and staff safety:

  • Investigation -- CMS has asked the bus manufacturer, senior inspectors from the N.C. Department of Instruction Transportation Division and fire inspectors from the City of Charlotte to conduct an independent investigation into the cause of this fire and to advise us of any possible widespread safety concerns.
  • Immediate review -- Maintenance procedures, practices and policies will be reviewed to protect the safety of our passengers and staff.
  • We will reinspect all buses of this type as areas of concern from this investigation are identified and we will act as needed.
  • Criminal investigation -- CMSPD and CMPD are investigating, including a review of surveillance footage of the bus lot.
  • Safety drills -- All drivers and staff will participate in bus emergency-exit procedure drills.

“We want to assure families that CMS buses are safe and we are doing everything in our power to keep them safe,” Stamper said.

CMS said they plan to release the findings of the current investigation into the bus fire that happened in Pineville on board bus #188 as soon as they are available.