June 30, 2008

Oran Mor escapes bus fire on journey to Ohio

The Grade 1 Oran Mor Pipe Band of New York escaped injury and avoided any loss of equipment when the band’s bus caught fire and was destroyed as the group was journeying to a competition in Oberlin, Ohio.

According to Pipe-Major Andrew Douglas, the bus caught fire about 40 miles from their destination due to a jammed wheel bearing, which set the tires aflame. The band’s pipers managed to take their pipes as they exited, and Douglas said the drummers fortunately loaded their drums at the front of the storage compartment, saving them from the fire that started at the rear of the bus.

“Only the cases suffered damage,” he said, “the drums themselves were fine. The bass sticks: not so lucky! Burned to a crisp.”

Because of smoke damage to uniforms, and a few even completely burned, the band was allowed to compete in civvies at the games.

Click here to see a video of the bus fire.

In July 2007 bus of the Memorial Pipe Band of Dookinella, Ireland, also caught fire, coincidentally when the band was traveling to an event in Ohio.

Oran Mor was recently in the news due the band’s entry in Grade 2 at the 2008 World Pipe Band Championships, despite it being asigned to Grade 1 by its home organization, the Eastern United States Pipe Band Association.


  1. When on my LGV Course in1993 I was instructed that, when driving a lorry, if a tyre catches fire you keep driving until the fire goes out. If you stop before it goes out the entire vehicle could catch fire. Is this what happened here? Did the driver stop too soon? Or are there different instructions for coaches. I am really pleased that everyone and their instruments are safe and well after that trauma. Roger

  2. This story is a big cover up. What actually happened was Senore Cole was practising on the bus. After 20mins of continuous playing the whole band took a vote and decided to store him in the rear loading compartments (they had anticipated a need for this, hence leaving the rear compartment empty for him except for a few uniforms and bass drum sticks to sit on, and storing all their stuff in the front) He then got really angry and practised even faster setting fire to his wooden practice chanter. Joe is still a fugitive and considered extremely dangerous. Approach with caution. Thats the unofficial story. Disclaimer: Some details have been edited for dramatisation. No responsibility taken for deformation of character.



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