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7 Buses Burn In Pipestone Blaze

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The fire at Priester Bus Service in Pipestone had fire crews working for hours Monday. With a number of explosions, the blaze spread to 7 buses.

Buses that are usually busy moving school children on a Tuesday, sit burnt and charred.

Smoke still billowed from a hot spot, as fire marshals looks for a cause.

Jerry Priester, gazed at what used to be 7 of his 11 school buses. Some only half burnt, some fully scorched and crushed by the building that once stood around it.

“Bottom line is, it's equipment. It can be replaced. As long as no one got hurt that's all I care about,” said Priester.

While none of the seats in the buses were occupied during the time of the fire, the school bus graveyard means a loss of money for Priester.   

“If you figure 7 school busses at $60-thousand a piece. Do the math. You're looking at a half a million dollars,” said Priester.   

Seven school buses were completely destroyed in the fire on Monday but just because some school buses are out of commission doesn't mean bus routes are cancelled.

“One of my distributors, North Central is going to bring me 6 buses today,” said Priester.  

While the business that has been in his family for over 60 years lies in ruins, Priester keeps his head high.

“This is nothing really compared to what could really happen,” said Priester.

Priester speculates the situation could have been worse. Just 20 feet from the fire a gas tank with thousands of gallons of diesel fuel sits untouched.  

While the bus company was almost wiped out, members from the Pipestone community and beyond rally to keep school buses up and running.    

Fire marshals are still investigating the cause of the fire. They do believe they have found where the fire started.
Priester said he had brought most of his buses inside his garage yesterday to be plugged in so parts of the engines could stay warm.

Priester has owned the bus service for about 25 years and says he did have insurance.
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