Fire damages buses in cargo ship's belly at Anchorage port

Posted: Tuesday, May 21, 2002

ANCHORAGE (AP) -- Four buses were damaged and 35 cars were covered with soot when a fire broke out in the belly of a cargo ship at the Port of Anchorage.

The blaze on the Totem Ocean Trailer Express ship Greatland was reported at 12:36 p.m. Sunday. It was put out by the ship's onboard carbon dioxide fire suppression system, said Anchorage Fire Department spokeswoman Bridget Bushue.

Firefighters found that the blaze started in the engine compartment of a Laidlaw school bus. The bus was one of perhaps eight to 10 being shipped to Seattle, Bushue said. The fire heavily damaged two buses and caused less severe damage to two others. The walls of the ship's hold were blistered.

Damage to the school buses was estimated at nearly $300,000, Bushue said.

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