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November 12, 2012 05:05 PM

Fire Destroys School Buses In Pipestone, MN

pipestone, mn

A big fire in Pipestone, Minnesota, closed a portion of Highway 75 Monday afternoon.

It started around 1:30 p.m. at Priester Bus Service, destroying a building and the buses inside.  There isn't much of the building after the fire moved through it in a relatively short amount of time.

The 150-foot shed that houses the buses was destroyed.  All of the buses inside had full fuel tanks, and all of them were plugged in. The owner, Jerry Priester, says because of the cold weather, Monday was the first day he had plugged them in.  Early speculation is that an electrical spark may be the initial cause, though the high winds and massive amounts of fuel didn't help.

Firefighters remained on the scene more than four hours later, watching the rubble for hot spots. The Pipestone Volunteer Fire Chief says the whole building was on fire when they arrived.

"There were seven buses and two mowers. A lot of fuel. When we were fighting it, you could hear the popping and the explosions, which just makes it worse. It just spreads all over quite rapidly," Corey Popma said.

This is a family business since the 1950s in the Pipestone area. The school district had classes on Monday, so in addition to the fire, they also had to find more buses on short notice. That happened thanks in part to another bus company in town and one in Slayton.

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