UPDATE: Burlco school bus fires ruled not suspicious

May 20, 2011 12:26:40 PM PDT
Police and fire officials in Bordentown, N.J. have determined the fire that damaged several school buses early Thursday morning was not suspicious.

"The investigation failed to uncover any evidence that this fire was the result of a criminal act," said Bordentown Police in a statement released Friday.

"The Police Department appreciates the patience demonstrated by both the public and school district during this complex investigation and is pleased to reassure all residents that this unfortunate incident was not criminal in nature," the statement continued. An investigation continues to determine the exact cause.

The fire was first reported by a passing motorist at 3:35 a.m. Thursday at 50 Dunns Mill Road in Bordentown, near the Bordentown Middle School.

Police responded to the scene, and told Action News that the fire involved school buses for the Bordentown Regional School District.

As many as three 54-passenger buses and eight vans were damaged or destroyed as a result of the fire.

"It's devastating in terms of the amount of damage," said Dr. Constance Bauer, Superintendent.

No one was injured in the fire.

Police, ATF along with state and county fire investigators brought in a dog to sniff through the ashes and are checking over security cameras.

They spent the day poring over the blackened shells of the big buses and handicap vans looking for clues into how the fire started.

The fire forced the Clara Barton Elementary School, MacFarland Intermediate School, Peter Muschal Elementary School and Bordentown Regional Middle School to cancel classes because of transportation troubles. The high school had a delayed opening.

At least half the district's 2,500 students take a bus.

"It's so hard for people to get to school and get home from school. We don't have a way because a lot of kids do take the bus," said high school junior Jenna Williams.

For working parents, finding babysitters and juggling schedules and rides on short notice Thursday made for some confusion.

"She's in her junior year and she's going to miss her most important class, which is her chemistry class, so it's an inconvenience," said George Williams.

Police estimated the damage at between half a million and a million dollars.


Online: http://www.bordentown.k12.nj.us/