Marching band loses thousands of dollars in bus fire after last game of the season

Photo: Navarre High School Band's bus catches fire on I-10 Courtesy: Katalina Cunnigham via Burst

A bus carrying Navarre High School band students caught on fire on the way from a playoff game in St. Augustine around 3:00 a.m. Saturday morning.

The Florida Highway Patrol said the bus fire happened on Interstate I-10 in Gadsden County.

Troopers say all of the students were able to get off of the bus safely but their equipment all gone.

Navarre High School Band Director Dean Barrow says the bus was one of five transporting students and parents back to the school after Friday night's loss.

"We were at about the 184-mile marker and realized we had a problem with one of the wheels on the bus. It had gone flat and caught on fire. The bus was actually on fire underneath," said Barrow.

The Florida Highway Patrol said the 57-passenger bus was headed westbound when the driver, began to smell something burning.

Troopers say the driver thought it was a car nearby but soon realized the smell continued. They also say the bus was a complete loss and the fire forced crews to close both lanes for up to two hours.

"We had five buses from Navarre High School and the one that burned was the one that I was on. It is one of three that were assigned to the band, cheerleaders and dance team," explained Barrow.

Barrow says he is thankful that no one was hurt. Now, his department has to replace thousands of dollars’ worth of equipment and new uniforms.

"I know there were about 20 uniforms there, the uniforms are about 350 to 360 a copy. The marching percussion was three snares, four or five bass drums, tenor drums, carriers, they can be pretty expensive. I just don't know what we're going to be salvaged and what will be a write-off," Barrow explained.

The band director says he will know the monetary value of damages to their equipment next week after they go through the wreckage.

Barrow also said the help of a local limousine company in Tallahassee helped bring students and parents back to Navarre High School Saturday morning.

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