Fire Destroys Pa. Bus Garage, Closes Schools

CORAOPOLIS, Pa. --

Firefighters spent hours at the scene of a large blaze in Coraopolis that rekindled after burning a school bus garage, causing the roof to collapse.

Coraopolis bus garage fire

Channel 4 Action News' Keith Jones reported that the fire in the 200 block of Kendall Street broke out early Tuesday morning. Neighbors said they could see the flames from several blocks away.

"It was just unbelievable. It's intense. I thought somebody dropped a bomb on us. The fire was so huge," said Eric Bryant, who lives in the area.

Sky 4 was over the scene as flames ripped through the warehouse owned by Ace Tire and Parts just before 5 a.m.

Student Transportation of America Houses 40 school vans at the warehouse. Jones reported that eight vans were damaged, but no buses were lost in the fire.

The fire affected Moon Area School District and Cornell School District, both of which canceled classes Tuesday because buses were unable to get out of the garage.

"We do believe we will have the buses running tomorrow. They will have to be cleaned first," said Cornell Superintendent Donna Belas.

Video showed flames shooting out of the building. A number of school buses and an Aramark Food Services truck could be seen parked near the fire.

Fighting the flames in Tuesday's cold temperatures proved to be a challenge for dozens of responding firefighters from seven local departments. Road crews had to put down salt to ensure nobody slipped on ice.

Amber Nicotra At The Fire

"Very intense. There was a lot of smoke and heat," said Chief Larry Byrge of the Coraopolis Fire Department. "With the cold weather, I don't know if it intensified the smoke a little more, but it was a very large fire. The roof caught fire and then the building collapsed in on itself on the one end."

Route 51 in Coraopolis and other streets in the area were shut down while fire crews battled the blaze, causing some traffic delays.

Don Brucker, chief deputy fire marshal for the county, said the fire must be completely extinguished and the structure deemed safe to enter before the cause of the fire can be determined. He estimated that a determination could be made as early as Thursday.

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