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Country singer’s bus goes up in flames

You can’t blame country singer Gene Watson if he’s a little superstitious about Friday the 13th.
/ Source: The Associated Press

You can’t blame country singer Gene Watson if he’s a little superstitious about Friday the 13th.

Watson, 63, and his Farewell Party band were on their way from Houston to perform on the Grand Ole Opry when their bus caught fire just outside of Nashville. The blaze ignited from a broken axle shaft spewing grease.

A mechanic before he had his first hit with “Love in the Hot Afternoon,” the Palestine, Texas, native quickly went to work trying to extinguish the fire.

“We used everything we had on the bus to douse the flames, from sodas to water bottles,” he said in a release from his publicist. “The firemen arriving on the scene still gave it a good shot, too.”

Sarah Brosmer, the singer’s publicist, said black smoke and flames engulfed the back of the bus by the engine.

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Watson and his band were trying to keep it from spreading under the floorboard. They fought it for about 30 minutes until firefighters arrived, she said.

No one was harmed, though Watson did singe his hair. The group had to rent another bus to continue to their Opry gig. It could take several days before Watson’s regular bus is repaired.

“When we say we were smoldering hot in Nashville, we really mean it,” cracked Watson, whose other hits include “Fourteen Carat Mind” and “Paper Rosie.”