The Norman Transcript

October 23, 2013

NPS charter bus catches fire with 43 students onboard; everyone safely evacuates

By Katherine Parker
The Norman Transcript

NORMAN — Forty-three students and three adults safely evacuated a Norman Public School charter bus after it caught fire Tuesday afternoon.

Three NPS buses were traveling on the H.E. Bailey Turnpike in southwest Oklahoma to a band competition at Cameron University when one of the buses caught fire at mile marker 47.

The bus experienced a mechanical issue, but the exact cause of the fire is not yet known. No injuries were reported. However, 20 students lost their instruments in the fire, and uniforms were destroyed.

Students were picked up by a Lawton school bus and taken the rest of the way to Cameron University. The bus that caught fire is one of two identical charter buses owned by Norman Public Schools.

Shelly Hickman, NPS director of Public Information and Community Relations, said the bus was worth approximately $250,000. The bus is insured, and NPS is working with its insurance carrier, Oklahoma School Risk Management Trust, Hickman said.

“To ensure the safety of students and take extra precautions, we are having our second charter bus that didn’t catch on fire taken to Dallas to be looked at,” Hickman said.

The charter bus will be inspected by ABC Companies in Dallas. The bus that caught on fire, which is a total loss, was towed to Lawton.

Fortunately, Norman High still was able to compete in the competition at Cameron University, Hickman reported. Norman North band members agreed to lend their instruments to those students who lost instruments in the fire for the purpose of the competition.