Fire destroys buses, structure in Yona - KUAM.com-KUAM News: On Air. Online. On Demand.

Fire destroys buses, structure in Yona

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 by Ken Quintanilla

Guam - While the island was spared from the tropical storm, the Department of Public Works wasn't so lucky. Just as the island was in Condition of Readiness 1, a fire broke out at the Yona Bus Satellite Station that investigators believe was intentional.

"I think this is another form of assault on the public school system because it will affect the transportation of school children to school," explained DPW director Carl Dominguez. He is referring to a fire that broke out over the weekend at the Yona Bus Satellite Station. Investigators believe the fire was started intentionally as not only was the structure burnt to ashes but two doe school buses and a small government Hyundai sedan. They believe the suspect(s) also siphoned fuel from other GovGuam vehicles that were parked at the bus compound. Dominguez calls the situation tragic.

"It's one thing to break in and steal something, but why burn the place down, what for? And I think there's just a lot of bad people out here and I this is just an example of it," he said.

GFD Captain Joey Manibusan says the siphoning of gas has been done before at the bus stations but believes this is the first time someone has actually torched the building. He adds before setting the structure on fire, it appears the suspect or suspects had broken in and stole miscellaneous items. Dominguez says some of the items include bush cutters and a water blaster. Meanwhile, the two buses that caught on fire were not part of DPW's newest fleet but Dominguez estimates each to cost around $100,000 each.

"Those ten 84-passenger buses were not affected at all, these are 60-passenger buses but actually of the 60-passenger buses, they were the two of the newer ones that's another sad thing about this," he said.

With the loss of two buses, it brings DPW's bus fleet down even further to 135. Dominguez says DPW actually needs close to 180 to be complete. The gate was closed with a padlock but that was cut open. As for what security efforts need to take place, Dominguez says it's difficult because of the limited resources and funding. "For one, I want to improve the lighting to start with and then we were in discussion in our staff meeting what would it take to our own people to patrol and it would take personnel, so we need a budget for that and to also ask the police department to increase their patrols of the satellite stations, that's the best we can do in the short-term," he said.

As for what it means for the upcoming school year, Dominguez does not believe it will have a major impact. He says up to five buses are currently being repaired. New buses have also been ordered but they won't arrive until the last quarter of the year. Meanwhile if you have any information about this crime, you're urged to call Guam Crimestoppers at 477-HELP (4357). 

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