A beat up old bus that a Champlin, Minnesota teenager turned into the vehicle of his dreams burned up on May 25 as he was pumping gas in St. Cloud.
Dylan Rinehart and his father worked for two and a half years restoring a 1974 Volkswagen Westfalia, which is a hybrid van/bus/camper.
A fundraiser for Rinehart was started by his brothers, who say he was 14 years old when he first began dreaming of buying, restoring and traveling the country in his dream VW bus.
The 1974 model he bought was in such poor condition that three auto body shops refused to touch it, so it became a "labor of love" for the Rinehart family and their friends.
They spent two and a half years restoring it, hanging curtains, replacing interior paneling and bench seats, new carpet and paint, the whole deal....they did it all.
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Rinehart, who works as a bartender at a golf course near St. Cloud, was at a Holiday gas station near his work when it caught fire. The harrowing situation was explained in detail by his brothers.
"After he filled his tank the bus wouldn't start. He saw smoke coming from behind him in the engine compartment. He ran to open it and flames started shooting out. He yelled, 'Fire' and the gas attendants called 911 and ran out with fire extinguishers. One of them asked Dylan to move the bus away from the pumps so he jumped in and rolled the bus forward as it was on fire, to prevent a possible explosion and keep everyone safe."
Rinehart can be heard crying as he recorded video of his dream vehicle burning up.
Inside the bus were Rinehart's prized possessions, including a record collection, homemade tie-dye shirts, hammocks, a camera, laptop, bandanas and other items of value.
His brothers describe Dylan as a "modern day hippie," who is "kind and generous."
"As an 19 year old bartending college student he simply has no means to get back what he lost," they say. "The time, energy, blood, sweat and tears he put into the restoration simply isn’t something he can possibly replicate."
Their goal is to raise $10,000 to help him buy another Volkswagen bus.