Sanctus Real Escapes Burning Tour Bus

Sanctus Real Bus
A photo taken by a Sanctus Real band member shows the Christian rock band's bus burning on the Pennsylvania Turnpike. (Sanctus Real)
Following a performance in Mitchellville, Md., Christian rock group Sanctus Real escaped tragedy Sunday morning, when the band's tour bus caught fire, destroying everything on board and charring the vehicle.

According to a statement from the band, the bus was riding along the Pennsylvania Turnpike around 4 a.m. Sunday when the driver saw flames in the side view mirror. The were no injuries to the nine passengers—the band and some family members, including four children—who quickly evacuated the vehicle.

The hasty exit in the middle of the night meant there was scant time to collect belongings before the bus burst into flames. "As a result, everything was destroyed in the fire, from clothing to laptops, cell phones and wallets," the band said.

Fortunately, a trailer carrying the band's equipment does not appear to have been damaged, and the five-member group will continue to perform scheduled shows.

Sanctus Real's current lineup features guitarist Chris Rohman, singer-guitarist Matt Hammitt and drummer Mark Graalman, all of the Toledo, Ohio, area, and bassist Dan Gartley and guitarist Pete Prevost, both of Nashville.

Stephanie Heisinger, who has been driving for Sanctus Real for more than two years, said the only warning was when the headlights dimmed and the gauges reset, after which she looked in the mirror and saw the flames. "We're very thankful for God's protection because it could have been much worse," she told the Toledo Blade.

Sanctus Real has scored four Top 10s on the Billboard's Christian Songs chart, reaching No. 76 on the Billboard Top 200 chart with 2010's Pieces of a Real Heart.

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