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Fire destroys school bus; officials call it arson

A Pike County school bus goes up in flames, and police are investigating it as arson!
The bus serving Belfry Middle and High Schools and Southside Elementary is destroyed.

A charred shell is all that is left of Bus 0369.
"The fire went pretty rapid," said Ancie Casey, the Transportation Director for Pike County Schools.

Thursday morning, the bus driver walked out of her home in Turkey Creek to prepare for the morning route. She saw small flames in the front of the bus.
"She tried her best to put it out with an umbrella and couldn't, so she got scared and ran to get her husband for help. When they got back to the bus, it was totally engulfed," said Casey.

Firefighters put out the blaze, but nothing could be saved.
The $70,000 bus is destroyed.

Now officials are trying to figure out how the fire started. Kentucky State Police opened an arson investigation.

"We think it was a prank, that's what we think it is. The prank got out of hand. It destroyed one our buses, which is very unfortunate for the Pike County Schools. That bus was approximately three to four years old with probably 50,000 miles on it, so we could have used that bus for an extensive long time," said Casey.

The school board asks any students or anyone else who knows how the fire started to tell police.
"They need to be dealt with in a severe manner because this is a loss for the school district. It's a loss of the taxpayer's money, and we take that very seriously," said Casey.

Anyone with information on the bus fire should call Kentucky State Police Post in Pikeville at 606-433-7711.

The school board has a replacement bus to take students to school and back home.
The school board does have insurance for the bus.


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