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Students Suffer Burns Aboard a Thomas Built School Bus

Officials suspect radiator failure

It’s happened yet again – students burned when a school bus radiator failed. And again, it is a Thomas Built school bus.

This latest incident happened on Tuesday, February 28, 2017 near Lugoff, SC near Columbia. The bus was carrying the junior varsity and varsity soccer teams to a when students said they heard a loud pop in the back of the bus. Students said hot smoke or steam began to fill the bus and some kind of liquid was running down the aisle.

“When I heard it happen, they were all like ‘Get out! Run! Run!”, one student, Daniel Garcia, told a local news reporter. “I was really scared ‘cause I didn’t know what happened. The smoke was coming and I was like ‘oh, my God, this is really like devastating.”

Another student, Junior Quintana, said, “It was really bad and people were just screaming and everybody was rushing at the door of the bus.”

A statement from the Lexington County School District One said that several students had to be treated for injuries. “Six students (one 17-year-old 12th grader, two 17-year-old 11th graders, two 16-year-old 10th graders, one 15-year-old 10th grader) were injured and either have received or are receiving medical treatment.”

This case is just one in a string of similar incidences we’ve told you about. Our law firm’s involvement came about as a result of a nearly identical incident in May 2015: a young girl severely burned by antifreeze while riding her school bus to Porter Ridge Middle School in Union County, NC. That little girl is continuing to heal and recover but it is a long, hard journey – one she should not have to endure.

We’ve discovered a long list of similar incidents around the country involving school buses spraying their young riders with hot antifreeze. From the most recent according to media reports:

Students Suffer Burns Aboard a Thomas Built School Bus

June 2016: Alpenhorn, California

  • Three students injured when a coolant line bursts

May 2015: Vacaville, California

  • An elementary special needs student is burned after being sprayed with hot coolant

October 2015: Lake Arrowhead, California

  • About 20 middle school students injured with a radiator hose burst and spewed hot antifreeze

February 2015: Durham, North Carolina

  • Four elementary students treated after a radiator hose bursts on their school bus

June 2014: Salt Lake City, Utah

  • Two students burned when hot antifreeze sprays into the school bus cabin

November 2013: Pendleton, Indiana

  • Several elementary students injured, one hospitalized with burns, after a radiator hose bursts on their school bus

October 2013: Gresham, Oregon

  • Children burned after hot antifreeze leaks into the school bus cabin

September 2013: Edgewater, Maryland

  • Five elementary school children treated for burns from antifreeze on bus

May 2013: Greenville, North Carolina

  • Four middle school students suffer minor injuries after a radiator hose bursts

April 2013: Wilkes Co., North Carolina

  • Eight students burned when a hose bursts releasing hot water, hot antifreeze and steam

May 2012: Knightdale, North Carolina

  • More than a dozen middle school children burned on their feet after a hot liquid covered the floor of their bus.

April 2010: Oak Grove, Florida

  • Four students and the school bus driver injured with a radiator hose fails

October 2008: Sanger Texas

  • Six middle school students injured with a hot water hose burst

The child injured in Union County in May 2015 was aboard a bus built by Thomas Built. While some of the incidents listed above were noted to involve Thomas Built buses, the manufacturer of all the buses involved has not been confirmed. But as early as September 2013, the state of North Carolina was aware of the failures of heater hose fittings resulting in children receiving burns on feet and legs due to the cracking of plastic fittings in the passenger compartment. A school board member in Salt Lake City is calling for a national movement to address the issue.

The students in South Carolina, in this most recent incident, have no doubt been traumatized. One passenger, Erick Quintana, said, “I was ready to get off the bus ‘cause I was really like nervous scared it might blow.”

We have got to stop our children from being at risk for this kind of injury. The laws in North Carolina do not allow for a legal case against Thomas Built, the bus manufacturer, to go forward. However, South Carolina law is different and a case there could hold Thomas Built accountable and prevent other kids – in any part of the country – from being burned.

If you or someone you know has been injured in an incident similar to this, please feel free to contact us at 704-296-0055 or simply complete the “Contact Us” form on this website.

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Let’s put an end to our children from being at risk of suffering burns on a school bus.

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