School buses from Sedro-Woolley, Kent, Gig Harbor and other communities gave Puyallup kids a lift Tuesday morning to kick off the new school year.
After an Aug. 24 fire at the Puyallup School District’s maintenance garage in downtown Puyallup destroyed 20 buses, school districts around the state came to the rescue. A total of 14 loaned buses from eight school districts were on hand Tuesday at the Puyallup transportation center on South Hill.
District spokesman Brian Fox said all of the loaner buses have been inspected by the Washington State Patrol, and Puyallup bus drivers were out in the drizzle early Tuesday giving their vehicles routine preboarding checks before heading out on their routes.
Puyallup’s fleet consisted of 180 buses before 20 were lost to fire. Those numbers include spare vehicles used when buses are in the shop for maintenance. So the 14 loaned vehicles were enough to cover bus routes Tuesday, according to the district.
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14 Number of buses loaned to Puyallup School District after a fire
While there’s been no official fire damage estimate yet, Fox said cost estimates for new buses are between $90,000 and $130,000. In addition, parts of the maintenance facility and the district’s radio communications system were damaged in the fire.
Arson has been ruled out as a cause, but officials have not yet released information about how the blaze started, Fox said.
Bus routes for Puyallup kids were unchanged, but parents of kids riding loaner buses should have received an email telling them which district’s buses would transport their child.
Districts that loaned buses to Puyallup include Hood Canal, Kent, North Thurston, Northshore, Oak Harbor, Peninsula, Sedro-Woolley and Snoqualmie Valley.