A charter bus carrying show choir students from Wheaton Warrenville South High School in Chicago’s western suburbs caught fire on January 15, on the way to a competition at Onalaska High School in Wisconsin, the Chicago Tribune reports.
On a Wisconsin road Friday evening, a road described by show choir director Kelsey Nichols as being “in the middle of nowhere,” the trailing bus of the choirs’ two-bus convoy had a flat tire. After the bus had pulled safely to the shoulder, a fire broke out, causing about 50 girls to ditch their belongings and get off the bus as quickly as possible.
“They followed instructions and didn’t take anything with them, except for maybe a purse if it was on their lap,” Ms Nichols was quoted as saying. “By the time they got off, in about 10 or 15 minutes, the bus was engulfed in flames.”
Musical instruments, shoes, and costumes were consumed in the fire, but no one was injured.
“I was actually sitting right above the wheel that popped and caused the fire,” WLS-TV (ABC affiliate, Chicago) quoted sophomore Rachel Neese as saying. “And we were like, Hey, something’s wrong.”
Since the show must go on, the group contacted parents back home in Illinois, who collected essentials and a change of clothes at their homes and drove up to Wisconsin Saturday. The folks at Onalaska High School, whose parents brought shoes and costumes that could be used in the current pinch, had a few instruments the group used.
“They’ve offered to go to Walmart for us and go to Target for us. It really is a fantastic community,” ABC quoted Ms Nichols as saying.
The all-female Esprit show choir performed a show about how hard it can be to start a girl rock band, including Simple Plan’s “I’m Just a Kid,” Reel Big Fish’s “Don’t Start a Band,” and Miley Cyrus’s “The Climb.”
Esprit won first place in the women’s division at the festival, according to Show Choir.com. The group is expected to repeat their performance on January 23 at a showcase in Marysville, Ohio, and on February 13 in Cedar Rapids, Iowa.
Although the energetic performances at those competitions are sure to benefit from a few additional hours of practice, we hope the trips to Ohio and Iowa are less … eventful.