Brownsville school bus fires prompt rounds of new inspections

Brownsville school bus fires prompt rounds of new inspections

Brownsville ISD had two buses catch fire in one week, and they are not taking any chances.

"From the minute it happened, we wanted to make sure our students are safe and that we need to look at the buses quickly," said Brownsville ISD Superintendent Dr. Carl Montoya.

International is the company that manufactured those school buses.

The company flew in inspectors from Chicago on Monday to try to figure out the source of the problem.

Superintendent Montoya said as an extra precaution, they've also hired an independent inspector.

"The bus company obviously represents their company and this independent would be neutral and probably can reconfirm hopefully whatever the company itself finds. So we have two sets of experts looking at the issue."

Due to safety reasons, the district has also grounded about five buses that were the same make and model of those that caught fire.

Dr. Montoya told us all buses in question are not the newest, but they also aren TMt the oldest in its 300 plus vehicle fleet.

Either way, he'd like to see all the buses examined.

Fortunately, 72 new buses have been purchased and they will be ready for use later this month.

Board Member Caty Presas-Garcia told Action 4 News that decision wasn't an easy one for the school board.

In fact, she said it was a struggle to decide which company to go with.

"We have to face the battles, but we overcame that. We all understood it was Thomas buses and Thomas buses were purchased. So International buses were not purchased this time around. We want whats best for our students and safety is priority for our district," said school board member Caty Presas-Garcia.

The District said buses can stay in service for up to 15 years depending on their condition.

Presas-Garcia would like to see more buses purchased to standardize Brownsville's fleet of school buses so the vehicles will easier to maintain and monitor.

The district says they will continue to focus on safety and prevention during the inspections.

It also already trains its drivers to handle any emergency situations.