WAKEFIELD — Superintendent Doug Lyons reports that a Wakefield Public Schools bus driver and other members of the schools’ team helped prevent significant damage this morning when they acted quickly after noticing a bus on fire at Woodville Elementary School.
Bus driver Kim Audet had been conducting routine preparation for the day around 6 a.m. when she smelled smoke and observed flames burning under the hood of a bus. Audet subsequently called the Wakefield Fire Department, which responded quickly and extinguished the flames.
Following the incident, Transportation Director Deidre Sandonato communicated with staff and families after Woodville’s opening was delayed by an hour to accommodate the response.
Facilities Director Tim O’Brien and crews from the Wakefield Department of Public Works ensured the parking lot, which had frozen over during the firefighting effort, was safe for families and staff by the time school opened.
“I am extremely proud of everyone who helped this morning, from Kim recognizing the danger, to firefighters who extinguished the flames, to our facilities and public works teams who helped mitigate the impact of the incident on the school day,” Superintendent Lyons said. “I want to thank all of them for their actions this morning.”
The quick actions by Audet and firefighters helped limit the damage to one bus, sparing three additional buses that were parked nearby. A spare bus was used to conduct morning pickup and drop-off.
The suspected cause of the fire is a mechanical failure in the bus’s engine compartment.