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Wires fall on school bus after transformer explodes in Wolcott

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img_0286WOLCOTT --The start of Monday's school day was delayed for most students because of snow. But, for some elementary school children in Wolcott, an unscheduled, unusual bus stop was the culprit.

At 10:20 this morning, a startling 911 call from a resident of Spindle Hill Road.

"A tree came down with wires and I believe they're across a school bus that is stopped," said the caller.

A bus, carrying five children to the Wakelee Elementary School, stopped in the 800 block of Spindle Hill Road after the bus driver told her dispatcher a box truck had clipped some sagging power lines wires, which then ended up on top of the bus.

"You have live wires on a bus and you don't know if a child or a bus driver is going to step out onto the ground, where they could be electrocuted," said Chief Edward Stephens of the Wolcott Police Department.

With emergency vehicles on the way, the police had instructions for the bus company to relay to the driver, according to Brenda Johnson, a manager for All Star Transportation.

"Keep the children seated. Don't touch any metal. And, wait for them to shut the power off," she said.

Johnson says she was proud of how calm her driver was.

"She had them stay in the center, by the aisle, so they wouldn't touch the side of the bus," she said.

"We went up on the bus, spoke to some of the children," said Stephens. "They were all jovial and having a good time."

"They were so excited to see the fire trucks and the policemen that they didn't even realize what was going on," said Johnson.

The student's parents were apprised of the situation. Once the power was cut to the lines, the driver and kids were on their way to school, aboard the same bus.

But, Eversource had a long day ahead.

"Some fluid had come out (of the transformer). So, they are testing whether there are PCBs or there's any problems with the fluid," noted Stephens.

Connecticut Department of Energy and Environmental Protection was called to assist in the cleanup.

"A transformer up on pole released its oil in a spray pattern onto the snow away from the bus," said DEEP spokesman Dennis Schain. "The transformer field tested non-detect for PCBs. A sample was sent to the lab for confirmation. The impacted area was cleaned by environmental contractor."