A small school bus started on fire unexpectedly Wednesday morning, but students were not on the bus and the bus driver was not injured.
According to Wally Leininger of the Caledonia Fire Department, the bus was headed west on 3-Mile Road and crossing the tracks when the bus driver stopped and opened the door to check for a train.
"She noticed smoke coming from the vent so she discharged the extinguisher into the vent," he said. "Another bus responded and waited with her, but they saw more smoke that turned into flames."
The drivers called dispatch at Durham Bus Company, who called 911, Leininger added.
By the time firefighters arrived, the bus was fully engulfed, including the passenger area. CFD had to use a dry chemical extinguisher plus 750 gallons of water to put the fire out, Leininger said, because of the potential presence of magnesium, which is used in larger vehicles.
"Water can actually intensify the flames when magnesium is present," he explained. "The vehicle is considered a total loss."
Sgt. Brian Wall of the Caledonia Police Department confirmed that 3-Mile Road was shut down in both directions for about 25 minutes, but was open to traffic by 7:15 a.m.