Ya no joke. So we find ourselves in Batavia, IA, and if you haven’t heard of it, neither has anybody. However, they do have a gas station thankfully. It’s about 1am on a Saturday night, Sunday morning and we pull off to fill up and our driver gets out and there’s a lady behind us going crazy saying “Your bus is on fire!” I’m within ear shot and I look out and our driver, Jason Rounsaville of Chariot Coach, says to me “Get the fire extinguisher!” These are one of my most feared moments as a road manager. Hearing stories like Relient K’s bus fire and the like place it in my mind that as soon as there’s fire reported and the extinguisher’s out, I don’t care what time of day it is, I’m waking everybody up and evac’n the bus.
So, that’s what I did. Cody and Adam were watching a movie, Jordan and Lauren were asleep, and Brian was with his family. We all get out of the bus to see the back end of the bus smoking and Jason in the engine compartment with the extinguishers spraying away. It wasn’t a huge fire – couldn’t even see flames, just a ton of smoke. After everything was out, we discover that it was the starter to the bus (pictured above) that started the scare. (Jason said in the 20 years he’s been driving, he’d never seen a starter do that.) Thankfully we were at a 24h gas station with bathrooms and showers and not on the side of the road. About 15 min. after pulling up, 2 county sheriff cars pull up with 4 total police officers who inspect the situation. Apparently there isn’t much going on in Jefferson County, IA as they hung around for a good hour shooting the breeze and us daring each other to be tazered by them. Nobody did. Cody and I did get some good time in on the ripstick and Brian’s longboard though.
Time goes on and it’s apparent that no mechanic is going to come out to our rescue that night. We were only 3h away from the gig and didn’t need to be there till 4pm at the latest Sunday afternoon, so we all went to bed. I wake up at 10am to discover Jason and 2 mechanics working on the bus. Come to find out, they had been there since 4am working to remedy the situation. Apparently the fire burned through several electrical cables that they had to fix which took forever. They finally got us up and going at 12pm and we were on our way and made it to the gig just fine!