Lehigh Valley

Crews work around the clock to get Parkland buses rolling again after fire

S. WHITEHALL TWP., Pa. - It's back to the books on Monday for students in the Parkland School District after flames tore through a bus depot early Friday morning, destroying or damaging more than two dozen buses and prompting the district to close all schools for the day.

"We had to deal with this unfortunate situation at 3:30 on Friday morning and make the best of it between now and then to keep school moving," said Rich Sniscak, Parkland School District Superintendent. 

Sniscak says mechanical crews worked around the clock over the weekend to repair the buses that weren't a total loss.

"Very busy, a lot of us are very tired but we take pride in this fleet, it means more to us than just a job," said mechanic Paul Frantz.

Frantz says a lot of the work involved replacing cracked windows, mirrors and lights.

"Mostly windshields and lenses on the front of the buses, we had a lot of melting of lenses," said Frantz.

Frantz says the motivation behind the long hours was simple, the kids.

"A lot of us have family members or kids we coach on these buses so it means a lot to us, it hurt a lot to see this happen," said Frantz.

While Frantz and others worked on the damaged buses, Sniscak says the district's vendors helped secure new buses to replace the 16 that were destroyed by the fire.

"We're in good shape," said Sniscak.

Grateful for everyone's hard work during the quick turn-around, Sniscak says he's also thankful no one was injured in the fire.

"Buildings can be replaced, buses can be replaced but as you know, you can't replace a life," said Sniscak. 

The cause of the fire is still under investigation.

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