(La Porte County, IN) - A burning pile of brush is blamed for flames engulfing a half dozen old school buses at a popular getaway near Michigan City.
Firefighters were called just before 1:30 p.m. on Wednesday to Serenity Springs Resort on U.S. 35 near Interstate 94.
Heavy black smoke from the burning tires and fuel in the tanks could be seen for miles.
Springfield Township Fire Chief Steve Marvel said the wind blew some embers from a burning pile of limbs and other brush about 150 feet away to underneath one of the buses.
Six of the ten buses, all parked close to each other, were severely burnt. The other buses did not catch fire because an excavator was used to pull one of the buses out from the middle of the row to keep the flames from advancing further.
“We were able to extinguish the rest of the buses,” Marvel said.
Marvel said the buses were last used for attaching billboards for advertising. The buses were moved to the property so they could be taken apart and sold for their scrap metal value. The inside of the buses was mainly gutted before the fire.
“All of the seats had been removed. The only thing that was in there was the steering wheel and the driver’s seat,” Marvel said.
The heat from the fire was intense enough to melt some of the steel on the doors of the buses. It took about 90 minutes to extinguish the blaze, described by Marvel as unique.
“It’s the first I’ve ever seen in the 30 some years I’ve been on the department,” Marvel said.