Quick responses by school staff and the Makana Fire Services meant no one was injured and damage restricted to one room, after a bus caught fire in the parking area outside Graeme College’s Grant House hostel on Wednesday 25 September. No boys were present because the incident occurred during the school vacation.
Residents in the area earlier reported hearing two loud explosions around 9.20am and concern grew when fire engines and an ambulance raced to the scene. No one was injured in the incident, Principal Kevin Watson confirmed to Grocott’s Mail at the scene; however, the mechanic who had been working on the bus had been exposed to thick smoke and appeared to be in a state of shock. A family member later took him to his doctor for a checkup.
When Grocott’s Mail reached the scene around 9.45am, the fire was out and the mechanic was standing in the parking area, speaking to Watson and Deputy Principal Greg von Molendorff. Two fire engines were still on the scene. Because this week is the September break, no boys were at the school.
Watson, who lives on the school grounds, was among the first on the scene.
“Luckily we were able to quickly find and use the fire extinguishers,” he said.
Meanwhile, the Makana Fire Services had responded quickly.
The window frames on the area closest to where the bus was parked – the hostel’s recreation room – caught fire and so there was water and smoke damage inside. Heat from the burning vehicle melted a large hole in a water tank outside the front of the hostel.
The incident occurred while the mechanic was attempting to fix the vehicle’s alternator, Watson said.
“We’re just grateful everyone responded so quickly and that no one was hurt.”