It seems that a janitor had turned on the heater so that the room would be warm by the time students arrived. The janitor went to other buildings on the campus and later noticed smoke and called the fire department.
When I arrived fire trucks from the Starr Fire Department were on the scene and the fire was pretty much out. My fellow tuba player, Dan Dyar, was also a volunteer fireman. The local newspaper ran a picture that showed Dan carrying out “His Tuba” that had gotten so hot in the fire that it had fused to the tuba chair. The thing was that tuba was my tuba.
We spent the rest of the year with no band room and did not have actual band class. No more concerts and no more lessons. Those of us who stayed on campus for the final period had to sit in the visiting football team locker room in the athletic building. The school cared so little about the band that we did not even get any chairs to sit on. What few benches there were did not provide enough seating for everyone to sit at.
The school refurbished the burned band room by the beginning of the next year and had new school instruments to replace the ones that had burned up. They did not replace the tubas. Instead they had them reconditioned and refinished.
They were refinished in nickel plating that looked tarnished from the beginning. There was no way to polish them properly. The heat had melted the large bells of the tubas. When the company that refurbished the tubas put them together they did a poor job and so, one by one, the bells broke free from the necks of the tubas and crash they came to the floor.
I had to continually haul tubas to Draisen’s House of Music to have them re-welded. Still the bells would fall off at inappropriate times.