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Minnetonka Company Creates Fire Suppression Systems To Keep Buses Safer

MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — A local company is hoping the fire on a Richfield school bus Monday will bring up the issue of fire safety on school busses.

Video of the fire that broke out on a Richfield Middle School bus showed how quickly the vehicle became engulfed.

"My first reaction is it was preventable," Fireaway, Inc. CEO Lance Harry said. "It's fantastic no one was harmed."

Minnetonka-based Fireaway is a company that manufactures fire suppression systems that are distributed all over the world. They're installed on city busses, and also used by first responders and in wind turbines. They could also be used on school busses.

"There are systems, including ours, that can be installed in engine spaces," Harry said.

The system works by using a heat detector that would set off an aerosol spray when a fire starts. The product is designed to, in most cases, put out the bus fire in under 30 seconds.

The DOT says a school bus fire happens one to two times every day in the U.S., and close to two dozen people are killed each year. In 2017, the National Transportation Safety Board recommended that school busses be equipped with fire suppression systems after a school bus fire killed a student and the bus driver.

Harry said he has reached out to school districts about the possibility of installing the product.

Fireaway was awarded with the International Trade Award by Minnesota Governor Tim Walz in 2019.

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