The Herald Bulletin

Evening Update

Local Education

November 23, 2013

Bus put out of service after hose leak

Inspection uncovers rupture near heater box

PENDLETON — The school bus with a ruptured antifreeze line that sent one student to the hospital last week has been taken out of service.

Bus No. 23, which carries Maple Ridge Elementary School children, is no longer in service after an inspection by Indiana State Police on Monday.

"It's been taken out of service until we can fix it," said Mark Matlock, director of support services for South Madison Community Schools.

On Nov. 15, an antifreeze line connected to a heating box under a seat ruptured, burning a fifth-grader's leg and flooding the bus floor. The students were evacuated from the bus, and no one else suffered any burns.

Matlock said the inspection showed the hose had warped just before it entered the heater box under a seat. Usually the hoses run along the side of the bus and are covered in case they do rupture. Matlock said the hose blew in the one spot it wasn't covered up.

"I've never seen anything like that happen since I've been here," Matlock said. "It was a first for our mechanic, too."

Matlock said the bus will be repaired and then put back into service. It was unclear what caused the rupture. Matlock said it could have been a number of things, including old age.

Bus 23 was commissioned in 2008, which puts it less than halfway through its life. Matlock said their buses typically have a 12-year life cycle.

"We've had hoses on buses last for the whole 12 years," Matlock said. "This was an isolated incident; they always are."

The buses are inspected by state police in the spring. Because of a decrease in the number of inspectors, Matlock said a third of their buses are checked in February, March and April. Bus 23 was inspected on March 11 and received clearance.

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