COPPELL, Texas (CBSDFW.COM) – A mechanical issue sparked a fire on a Durham School Services school bus two weeks ago, the Coppell ISD Superintendent told parents and the community in a letter.

“The fire was caused by a mechanical issue involving a worn wiring harness that wrapped around an engine component resulting in the fire,” Superintendent Brad Hunt said.

Hunt said after the incident, the school bus company inspected all CISD buses after the incident looking for a similar issue and did not find one.

The bus caught fire on Wednesday morning, October 17 in Irving after the driver noticed smoke coming from the engine.

A Coppell ISD bus caught fire Wednesday, October 17. There were no injuries reported. (Courtesy: Juan Vazquez/Twitter)

There were two students, the driver and a monitor on board the bus at the time that was on its way to Valley Ranch Elementary. The students were evacuated safely, and there were no injuries reported.

Here is the Superintendent’s letter:

Dear CISD Families,

As promised, we are sharing with our community the Durham School Services report revealing what caused a CISD bus to catch fire on October 17. The fire was caused by a mechanical issue involving a worn wiring harness that wrapped around an engine component resulting in the fire. Over time the wiring harness deteriorated exposing the 12 volt cable. This cable welded to the metal component causing sufficient heat to ignite the fire. The wear of the wire was not caught during regular bus inspections due to its location underneath the coolant recovery tank, rendering it not visible to inspectors.

After this incident, Durham School Services inspected all CISD buses looking for a similar issue and has found none. In this recent inspection and future inspections, Durham School Services is removing any engine barriers in place to inspect all wires.

CISD believes that what caused the bus fire on October 17 is an isolated issue, and we are satisfied with this report.

I want to add a clarification to the last message sent to you on October 17, which also details the inspections and safety trainings our bus drivers go through. Durham staff did investigate three CISD buses that were similar to the one involved in the fire on the day of the incident. However, these weren’t exact matches to the one involved in the fire, which was a 2006 model.

Again, I want to personally commend and thank the bus driver and bus monitor from Durham School Services for following safety protocol and ensuring that the Valley Ranch Elementary students were safe on October 17. We are fortunate to have such strong partnership with Durham School Services.

I know you as the Coppell ISD community join me in being grateful that everyone was safe in this situation. I appreciate all you do in support of our district and schools.


Brad A. Hunt
Coppell ISD