Thursday, 4:30 PM
Some bus delays after dust plume
(George Rizer/Globe Staff)
Crews were still washing buses at 7 a.m. this morning after Thursday's cement dust explosion in Charlestown.
By Andrew Ryan, Globe Correspondent
Dozens of school buses were delayed in Boston this morning as officials continue trying to clean up some 60 vehicles that were covered with thick gray dust after a mishap at a cement company near the Charlestown bus yard.
Roughly 75 percent of the buses kept in Charlestown were running this morning, according to Boston Public Schools spokesman Jonathan Palumbo. However, the Boston Public Schools transportation hotline listed at least 25 bus lines that had been affected by what an operator called "major" delays.
Crews have been on duty since 5 a.m. trying to alleviate problems, Palumbo said. The combination of the Charlestown buses that have been cleaned and the fleets in the city’s other three bus yards will allow coverage of about 95 percent of the bus routes in the city, Palumbo said.
"All buses that are running from the Charlestown Bus Yard have been inspected and cleared by the state Department of Environmental Protection, the Boston Public Health Commission, and the Boston Fire Department's Hazardous Materials Unit," Palumbo said in a written statement.
At 12:45 p.m. on Thursday, a malfunctioning silo spewed a massive plume of gray dust, sending 61 people to hospitals with minor respiratory problems and coating the buses in a gray powder. The dust came from Lafarge North America, whose six silos tower over the firm's Charlestown plant.
School officials decided Thursday afternoon not to use any of the buses from the Charlestown yard, which put approximately one-third of its fleet out of service. The buses are operated by First Student, a Cincinnati-based company that transports 32,000 students in Boston.
People looking for information on specific bus routes can call the Transportation Department at 617-635-9520.