School bus burns in Valley Stream


Fire destroyed a bus at the Veterans Transportation bus lot on Merrick Road in Valley Stream early this morning. The fire was reported at about 7:45 a.m.

The bus was parked directly underneath the Long Island Rail Road tracks near the corner of East Merrick Road and Cornwell Avenue. Only one bus was damaged and no injuries were reported.

Christine O’Toole, president of the Wheeler Avenue School PTA, said she witnessed the fire. “By the time the fire department got there the whole bus was engulfed,” she said.

The Valley Stream Fire Department responded and extinguished the flames. The fire was under control by 8:15 a.m.

The tracks serve the West Hempstead branch of the Long Island Rail Road. MTA spokesman Sal Arena said trains were not stopped, but a speed restriction was imposed in the area until about 9 a.m.

The LIRR did send an inspector there to check the bridge and the tracks. Arena said no structural damage was reported. “Just as a precaution every time there’s an incident at a bridge like that, we always send an inspector to the scene immediately,” he said.

District 13, which uses Veterans Transportation to bring children to school each morning, was not affected. Meredith Brosnan, assistant superintendent for business, said its buses were already out at the time of the fire picking up children.