Providence officials have deemed a fire that destroyed at least 6 school buses in the First Student lot on Ricom Way Thursday night suspicious in origin.
Fire crews responded to the blaze at around 7:30pm on Thursday night. A spokesman for First Student, Frank McMahon, said that the buses were destroyed and several others were damaged by smoke and water.
Providence Public Safety Commissioner Steven Pare said that the fire was being considered suspicious in nature, but the cause of the fire is unclear at this time. One firefighter was injured, and taken to the hospital with minor injuries.
First student, the owner of the bus yard and operator of school buses in Providence, is currently in the midst of a heated strike with its drivers, represented by Teamsters Local 251. The drivers have been on strike since September 27.
The teamsters issued a statement on their Facebook page Friday morning, stating, “Teamsters Local 251 and our Providence school bus drivers condemn the property damage that occurred at the First Student bus yard after we left the picket line. We are thankful there appear to have been no serious injuries among the firefighters who quickly responded. These are our buses too. After we negotiate a secure retirement and this labor dispute ends, we’ll go back to our jobs driving those buses. Anyone who thinks that day is advanced by what happened last night is badly mistaken.”