150 buses at First Student impacted by fuel filter problems - WFSB 3 Connecticut

150 buses at First Student impacted by fuel filter problems


At least 150 First Student school buses were pulled from service Friday morning after algae was found in fuel filters.

At least one school, Pathways to Technology, was closed Friday due to the bus problems. That was an issue for them because it was an exam day for students.

"We just rescheduled our final exams," said principal Steven Dillinger. "The kids will have extra time to study."

First Student officials said during a diagnostic maintenance check Thursday, algae was discovered clogging a bus fuel filter.

The maintenance team worked throughout the night, checking each of the buses at the East Hartford location.

First Student officials said that out of an abundance of caution they decided to pull all 150 East Hartford lot buses from service on Friday to ensure the safety of the students. 

They said a clogged fuel filter can cause a bus to stop without warning.

Buses were brought in from different locations, but officials said there would likely be a delay in bus service Friday morning.

First Student said their fuel vendor would be on site Friday to clean and treat the fuel storage tank, and they will replace the fuel filters on each bus and treat each of the gas tanks.

Officials with the Capitol Region Education Council said they were informed late Thursday night of the issue affecting the school buses.

CREC said they "immediately informed the families and schools of all students who reside on the affected bus routes, and all families with the means to do so were encouraged to transport their children to school."

Officials said that any students without access to alternative transportation received an excused absence.

Some parents such as Dimari Flores drove their children to school.

"They need their education so I had to bring them in," she said. "I'm at work now, so I took my lunch break to pick them up and find a babysitter to bring them back home."

In total, CREC officials said, 200 buses were compromised and that had an effect on eight magnet schools and 35 Open Choice bus routes. However, officials said, CREC was able to get coverage of 52 routes.

Dillinger said the exams for the students at Pathways to Technology have been rescheduled until Tuesday.

"It's all right, things happen sometimes, you know," he said. "As long as kids are safe that's the main objective."

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