Fire destroys Richmond school bus depot; who pays the bill?

Posted at 5:49 PM, Jun 30, 2022
and last updated 2022-06-30 17:49:27-04

RICHMOND, Va. -- The materials and tools destroyed by fire inside a Richmond Public Schools bus depot will be covered through insurance, according to an email sent from Richmond Schools Superintendent Jason Kamras to school board members.

A fleet maintenance garage on Chamberlayne Avenue, used by Richmond Public Schools for more than 20 years, went up in flames Wednesday morning. The facility, along with up to five buses, including Richmond Schools' new Lit Limo, a library on wheels are a total loss.

In the email, Kamras wrote RPS' content policy insures the contents inside the garage up to $250,000 with a $50,000 deductible. That's in addition to insurance for the vehicles damaged by the fire.

Kamras said the loss of the garage and buses will not impact RPS' ability to transport students for summer school.

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A fire destroyed a school bus depot in Richmond, Virginia on Wednesday, June 28, 2022.

He added the district will explore another facility in the short-term that may be available to RPS for free in Petersburg.

"We do need to, of course, find a new facility that can service our buses," Richmond School Board Member Jonathan Young. "We're still in June. School is only a couple of months away, so we're going to move with expediency."

Young also suggested RPS utilize a facility on Belt Boulevard on the city's southside for long-term use in the future.

"There's significant acreage there," he said. "Perhaps there's an opportunity to do something relevant to erecting a facility on our property."

The property on Chamberlayne Avenue is owned by Thalhimer Realty Partners and was being leased by RPS. Thalhimer has insurance for the structure itself.

In May, Richmond Superintendent Jason Kamras asked the school board to approve a one-year extension on the lease at a cost of nearly $113,000 for one year. The board approved it unanimously.

This is a developing story, so anyone with more information can email to send a tip.