March 08, 2012 01:46:42 GMT
The 'Lover, Lover' crooner credits the 'Love Like Crazy' hitmaker and another friend for saving the whole entourage from getting burnt in a bus fire.
Jerrod Niemann escaped injury when his tour bus caught fire after he performed a concert in Chattanooga, Tenn., thanks to Lee Brice. They were on the same bus that night after the gig, and Jerrod was urged by Lee and another friend to get off the bus because they thought it burnt.
"I smelled something when I got on the bus but I figured it was that smell a heater makes when it comes on," Jerrod recalled the scary moment to PEOPLE. "John Stone, a songwriter who was with us because he wrote Lee Brice's new song, said, 'Dude, I think your bus is on fire'."
"I said, 'No, that's the heater.' But he had been on Lee's bus when it caught on fire just recently, so he was pretty adamant," he continued his story. In a separate interview with a local TV station, he remembered checking out "the thermostat and it says 'Auto Cool'."
So, John and Lee went outside to make sure everything was alright, but "Lee came back on and said, 'No dude, this bus is on fire! You need to get your stuff and get off now!'," Jerrod added to PEOPLE. They quickly evacuated the bus and backed away from the vehicle.
"We could see the fire moving up from the back corner of the bus, under the bus, and we were backing up, then the windshield blew out with a piece of blind stuck to it," he narrated what he saw just before the bus exploded. "All the pressure built up and blew it out."
"I'm just grateful to John and Lee for recognizing it, and so thankful that we weren't parked somewhere sleeping because we may not have smelled the smoke at all until it was too late," he said. "It happened so fast we didn't have time to get scared, but we were pretty shook up after."
The accident happened on Tuesday night, March 6 after Jerrod performed at Heartstrings for Hope, a charity gig benefiting St. Jude Children's Research Hospital. The country music crooner tagged along his father and uncle that night.
In addition to expressing his gratitude towards John and Lee, Jerrod also thanked fans for their supports. "Thanks to everyone for all the bus comments & wishes. Had friends, family (Dad & Uncle) & we thank God for letting us wake up today!" he tweeted that night.
He additionally uploaded a picture of him standing in front of the burning bus. "Wow! 1st @RandyHouser , then @leebrice & now me," he wrote. In March 2010, Randy Houser's bus caught fire but he and his band lost their belongings. In January this year, Lee and his pals had a similar experience.
Coincidentally, Randy was also supposed to support the Heartstrings for Hope concert that Tuesday night, but he canceled his appearance after his wife gave birth to their son. Lauren Alaina was tapped as a replacement at the concert which also featured Ronnie Dunn, Joey & Rory and Chris Young.