Deep Freeze Delays School Buses in Worcester, Mass. - NECN

Deep Freeze Delays School Buses in Worcester, Mass.



    Deep freeze delays school buses in Worcester, Mass.

    There was also a boiler issue at an elementary school that resulted in an evacuation as a precaution (Published Friday, Feb. 21, 2014)

    (NECN: Kristen Carosa) - Seventeen Worcester, Mass. school buses wouldn't start Wednesday morning.

    Durham school services told administrators the extreme cold caused batteries to fail.

    "The situation is a little unnatural but we are doing the best we can," School Support Coordinator Mark Berthiaume says.

    The school department sent an automated phone message to parents at 7:15 a.m. Elementary, middle and high school students in both public and private schools were affected.

    "We did suggest that parents to seek alternatives means of transportation to school this morning," Berthiaume says.

    Worcester has a fleet of 96 buses, and some of them made another trip to pick up affected students. In some case,  Worcester police officers drove students to school and a small percentage of kids didn't make it to class.

    "We made every effort to get kids to school despite the cold weather today," Berthiaume says.

    The problems didn't end there - a boiler issue at the Nelson Place Elementary School caused the school to evacuate.

    "The fire department responded immediately. After an investigation of the boiler, it was determined that it was safe for everyone to go back into the school," Worcester School Safety Liaison Rob Pezzella says.

    Fire officials did test for carbon monoxide, but levels were low. No one needed medical treatment, but the school issued a voluntary dismissal. The situation is under investigation but the fire department is linking the issue to the cold.

    "Anytime there is a minor issue with a furnace, it may not show up on a normal day, but on a day it's running non-stop, those minor issues will magnify," Worcester Fire Deputy Chief Geoffrey Gardell says.

    School maintenance will continue to work on the boiler to ensure its up and running for Thursday. Meantime, all buses were back to normal for afternoon dismissal.

    "They are currently all operational. There were no problems getting kids home from school. If there are problems moving forward, we will deal with it accordingly," Pezzella says.