School bus fire determined an accident. Four buses involved, at least two are totaled.

Katelyn Waltemyer
Jackson Newspapers
Two school buses caught on fire around 1:20 a.m. Friday morning.

RIPLEY  The cause of the Sept. 24 school bus fire was determined an accident. The fire originated in the engine compartment of one bus and spread to the surrounding vehicles, Chief Investigator at West Virginia State Fire Marshal's Office Jason Baltic said. 

Multiple buses were on fire when the Ripley Volunteer Fire Department arrived on scene. Two are totaled, one is expected to be totaled and another that has minor heat damage will be repaired and put back in use. 

Mike Erwin, assistant superintendent for Jackson County Schools, woke up at 1:30 a.m. to the call that morning. Luckily, he said, no one was hurt. 

"You never want anything like this to happen," Erwin said. "At least nobody's hurt."

Two buses caught fire Friday morning and two additional buses have heat damage.

Jackson County Sheriff's Department, Ripley Police and the city's volunteer fire department responded to the scene.

Erwin said the county has additional buses that will be used in place of the ones involved in the fire for the time being. 

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— Katelyn Waltemyer (she/her) is the General Assignment and Enterprise Reporter for Jackson Newspapers in Jackson County, West Virginia. Have a news tip on local government or education? Or a good feature? You can reach Katelyn at Follow her on Twitter @Kate_Waltemyer.