A York school bus that went up in flames last year was the same make and model as a Charlotte bus that caught fire Thursday.
The York bus was in line at Hickory Grove Sharon Elementary waiting for school to be dismissed when the driver noticed a leak, York schools Transportation Director Richard Podmore said. The driver returned the bus to the lot and got a new vehicle.
Then the parked bus began smoking.
“By the time the fire department got there,” Podmore said, “it was engulfed in flames.”
The bus was a Freightliner FS-65 with a Thomas Built Buses body.
Three of York County's four school districts have that type of bus in their fleets.
Seemingly spontaneous fires involving the buses have raised questions in other parts of the Carolinas in recent years. Television station WNCT in Greenville, N.C., investigated last year after a Thomas Built bus fire there. The station found that between 2010 and 2011, at least four of the five school buses that caught fire around the state were FS-65 buses.
The York bus fire was sparked by a loose battery line, Podmore said. The Charlotte school bus started smoking Thursday, then caught fire because of a problem with a motor for a fan heater, officials told The Charlotte Observer.