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Maintenance Records Revealed After Norman Bus Fire

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A Norman High School charter bus that caught fire during a trip to a band competition this week had just been in for extensive maintenance in August.

Records obtained by 9 Investigates show the bus, a 2003 VanHool T2145, had been getting regular maintenance over the three years since being purchased by the district.

In May of this year, Red Carpet of Oklahoma City did preventive maintenance and an oil change. In August, the district sent the bus to Dallas, where the company that sold it to Norman, ABC Companies, made repairs to the bus's windshield, AV system, brakes, and tail lights.

Records show the bus had been sent to ABC on at least one other occasion, while the majority of service was performed in Oklahoma City by Red Carpet. None of the service records provide any obvious clue as to what caused the engine to catch fire near Lawton on Tuesday.

10/22/2013 Related Story: Norman High School Band Members OK After Bus Fire

Forty-three students and three adults were on board the bus, one of three charter-style buses the district was using to transport members of the Norman High School marching band to Cameron University in Lawton.

The driver pulled over when he noticed mechanical problems, and everyone got safely off before the engine caught fire. No one was hurt, but some band instruments and uniforms were destroyed.

According to documents provided by the district, Norman bought the bus, and another just like it, in June, 2010. It had just under 439,000 miles on it. District officials say that is not an exceptionally high number of miles for this type of bus, and that they expected to get at least another 500,000 miles out of it.

10/22/2013 Related Story: Norman High School Band's Instruments Destroyed In Bus Fire

They had put just about 25,000 miles on it in the three years it was in their service, prior to Tuesday's mishap. The district uses its charter buses, primarily, for transporting students to and from sporting events, as well as, special events like the band concert.

Records show the bus went in for maintenance twice in 2011, three times in 2012, and three times this year. The other identical bus is being sent, as a precaution, to a service company in Tulsa to be evaluated.

As for the cause of the fire, the district says that still has yet to be determined.

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