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Lee Brice Reflects On Frightening Bus Fire

Lee Brice
KNIX / Ethan Miller, Getty Images

Over the weekend (Saturday, Jan. 21), Lee Brice was the latest country star to fall victim to an unexpected bus fire that destroyed his home on wheels. After pulling into Toby Keith‘s I Love This Bar and Grill restaurant in Mesa, Ariz., the back end of Brice’s Prevost tour bus caught on fire, but everyone escaped with minimal damage. Brice is now reflecting on the scare.

“It’s something that you think will never happen,” Brice tells Taste of Country. “It happened to Randy Houser and Justin Moore last year … a few guys have had it happen. You’re on those buses for a long time and those motors run. Stuff happens, and I was just lucky.”

Brice, along with most of his band and crew, were sleeping on the bus when the fire started, but luckily his bass player was outside the bus when he saw the smoke start. “He got us all off the bus,” recalls Brice. “Within minutes — like literally two minutes — it was engulfed in toxic smoke, and then within another minute or two, there were 20-foot flames. If the fire department had been there five minutes later, the whole bus and the trailer would have been burned to the ground.”

“Once it started to actually burn, it was like a torch because of all the chemicals and fiber glass,” Brice continues. “I have so much thanks for them for getting there, because we really got a lot of stuff saved. Some [equipment] in the trailer was burned, [and] all of our clothes and stuff on the bus are kind of damaged, but that’s just stuff. That’s the most important thing. It’s a big deal still having all of that equipment left … guitars and stuff. We were lucky that the fire department came out and they were there so quick.”

As far as the cause of the fire, officials are pointing the blame at a poor connection cable between the batteries located near the engine of the bus. “There are four batteries on a bus, and there are connections between them,” Brice explains. “They think there was a connection between the batteries that was shorting out, because the motor wasn’t hot, so it wasn’t the motor overheating. Even when they did get all the big flames out, they kept trying to get this one flame out and it wouldn’t go. It just kept reigniting because of a short.”

Even though the situation left the newly-engaged singer a bit shaken, he knows how fortunate he and his crew were to be on the surviving end of the blaze. “If we had been in the middle of nowhere, it would’ve been on the ground,” he says. “We really could have woke up with big-time smoke. We were blessed. Luckily, we were stopped in a populated area where fire trucks could get there. If we had been in the middle of nowhere, it could have been a whole different story. We were lucky.”

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