Metro

School bus catches fire in Sterling while warming up for morning

The Wachusett Regional School District bus, owned by AA Transportation, caught fire in a private bus lot at 139 Greenland Road, fire Chief David Hurlbut said.
Sterling Police Department
The Wachusett Regional School District bus, owned by AA Transportation, caught fire in a private bus lot at 139 Greenland Road, fire Chief David Hurlbut said.

An unoccupied Sterling school bus burst into flames Thursday morning after the driver left it with the engine running, the fire chief said.

The Wachusett Regional School District bus, owned by AA Transportation, caught fire in a private bus lot at 139 Greenland Road, fire Chief David Hurlbut said. No injuries were reported.

“Because we had a lot of ice last night, the buses had to warm up to de-ice this morning,” Hurlbut said. “It had been left to warm up for the morning run.”

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When firefighters arrived at the lot at 8:19 a.m., the bus was fully engulfed in flames, he said. The driver believes the cause was a faulty heating unit toward the back of the bus, but officials are still investigating.

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“This is the first bus fire I’ve responded to in my 33 years here, so it’s not something that happens often,” Hurlbut said.

The school bus is “completely destroyed,” he said.

Elise Takahama can be reached at elise.takahama@globe.com. Follow her on Twitter @elisetakahama.