School bus in Lewis County destroyed by fire ignited in dry grass

TOLEDO, Wash. — The simple act of backing up resulted in a fire that destroyed a school bus in the Lewis County city of Toledo on Tuesday.

Bus driver William Blankenship had dropped off all his riders. While he was turning around on Classe Road, he needed to back up the bus.

As he was backing up, the bus muffler ignited some dry grass on the road shoulder, according to the Toledo School District. Though Blankenship tried to put out the flames, the fire spread to the interior of the bus.

When firefighters from Lewis County Fire District 8 arrived, the bus was fully involved in flames.

A crew quickly put out the fire before it could spread to brush, timber and structures.

The vehicle is a total loss.

“We have a spare bus that we can use while we work on a replacement,” said district transportation director Cory Kincaid. “(There will be) no interruptions to service for students and families.”

The bus is covered by insurance and will be replaced.