OXFORD — School officials will finally be able to discard a school bus that burned up in a fire last year.

“The insurance company doesn’t want it,” Superintendent Mark Eastman told the Board of Directors this week. The district hopes to sell it for salvage rather than pay the cost to dispose of it, he said.

The burned out shell has been housed at a site near the Gouin Center but was technically owned by the insurance company until a settlement was made with the school district.

In September of 2007, the Thomas Built bus was destroyed after fire erupted in the engine compartment and spread quickly through the bus that was about to be loaded with students going home from after-school activities.

The bus driver kept about 10 to 15 students from entering the bus as she jumped out to escape the smoke and flames. There were about 200 students in the bus loop readying to load one of seven buses.

Eastman said the district has received reimbursement from the insurance company for the value of the three-year-old bus, and coupled with money from a state program, a replacement bus has been purchased for $75,000.

The new bus is a C-2 Thomas model, said Glenn Sirois, director of transportation. He said it is a newer version of the one that burned and has had “no problems.”

The bus purchase was funded through $55,000 received from the insurance company for the replacement cost of the destroyed bus and $20,000 from a state program that provides funds for school districts to purchase new buses.

Sirois said that he has several salvage companies that may take the destroyed bus away so that the district does not have to dispose of it.

The state recently inspected all the SAD 17 school buses and found no problems with them, Sirois said.

Buses will roll in another month when the 2009-10 school year gets under way.

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