Salvation Army Bus Torched Overnight In Shawnee

Saturday, October 11th 2014, 3:18 pm
By: News 9

Investigators in Shawnee said they think arson was to blame for a torched Salvation Army bus. 

No one was injured in the overnight fire, but crews called it suspicious.

Now the organization is left in a stand still.

The Salvation Army called the 15-passenger bus, the work horse.

It was used daily to transport kids from seven different area schools.

The cost for replacement is nearly $50,000.

"That's the thing that breaks our hearts the most is what are we going to do for the people who totally depended on us for their transportation to get to be where they needed to be," said Shawnee Salvation Army Captain Philip Canning.

Shawnee Corps Officer Captain Phillip Canning didn't get the call until around one in the morning. By that time, fire crews believed the bus had already been burning for nearly an hour.

"All the scenarios try to go through your head of what would cause a bus fire and I'm still in disbelief," said Capt. Canning.

Every inch of the bus was charred.

The roof, windows and doors were blown out.

Brake lights were liquefied, then frozen as if dripping like water.

And the once clean white aluminum sides are now crumpled and tarnished with ash.

Shawnee fire deputies could not provide details. But this fire has been labeled suspicious and the investigation is for arson, a term that caused frustration and confusion in the community.

"Whoever did this is stupid, it's dumb.. whoever did that. They work hard," said Galvin Cox, a Shawnee resident.

Drake and Galvin live just on the edge of downtown Shawnee, down the street from the where the bus burned outside Salvation Army headquarters.

"Why would someone do this to the Salvation Army when they give out food and let people stay here and stuff," said Drake Veitenheimer, Shawnee resident.

All that could be on hold while Captain Canning and the rest of the organization find a solution.

"While this is a setback we'll get back up and keep doing what we do each and every day to help out this community," said Capt. Canning.

The investigation into the fire is still ongoing and so is the Salvation Army's search for a temporary replacement .

The Salvation Army does have insurance on the bus, but will not know how much it covers until Monday.