Marching band loses thousands in trailer fire

By: Laura Geller - bio | email

POWHATAN, VA (WWBT) - A devastating loss for the Powhatan High School Marching Band.

A fire destroys much of their equipment, costing them tens of thousands of dollars.

With another competition next weekend, the group is now trying to assess the cost and figure out what to do next.

Fire investigators still don't know what caused the blaze.

Throughout the afternoon, band members stopped by to survey the damage, trying to come to terms with a loss that will change their everyday routine.

It is a sight sophomore mellophone player Savannah Bustos can't seem to make sense of.

"It was really hard for me to see this," she said. "It was really hard for all of us to know that something that we love so much wasn't there anymore."

The band was returning from a competition in Virginia Beach late Saturday night.

As they pulled into the school parking lot, someone noticed smoke billowing out of their trailer.

The high from winning earlier in the day was quickly extinguished.

"It's everything we worked," she said. "From a day going so well, like the feeling of grand champions, it's just crazy."

Last year, the band was featured as one of NBC12's high school bands of the week.

At they time they played in jeans and T-shirts.

Several drums and uniforms are new to the band this year.

Saturday's competition was their debut.

Those alone are valued at about $60,000.

On top of that, there's the damage to the trailer which Band Director Scott Gordon fears could be a complete loss.

"We keep everything in here," he said. "All of the percussion equipment, the electronic and sound equipment, all of our uniforms all of our wind instruments everything we possibly need for the marching band to perform on the field."

Now band members, who call each other family, wonder what they'll do.

They're scheduled to compete again, next weekend.

"We're going to make it through together and what doesn't kill us makes us stronger," he said.

Gordon says the community has shown its support as the school continues to assess a total damage estimate.

How much money the band will need and whether it can fully recover is still up in the air.

If you'd like to help, you can call Powhatan High School at 598-5710.

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