When Bikers Do Right

March 9, 2010

All Posts, News

A video on YouTube edited and narrated by a staff writer for the Salem News proves what you already know – that you are good people.

Local members of the Free Souls Motorcycle Club and the Gypsy Jokers Motorcycle Club were at a party in Salem, Oregon last Friday night when the men smelled smoke and noticed a burning SUV in a driveway two houses away. As the fire began to spread, patch holders ran to house, alerted the residents and tried to put out the fire with a garden hose. One of them, Mike Kondash, took the video.

Because the bikers were right there, the house in the 3500 block of Hawthorne Ave NE in Salem was only scorched. The SUV looks totaled.

Tim King wrote the story for the News. The YouTube watch code is “ot_svNWI66A.”

SUV Fires

There are more than a quarter million auto fires in the United States every year. The fires kill more than 500 people annually and the problem seems to be getting worse.

In 2006, after years of inaction and numerous formal complaints, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) finally recalled 600,000 Ford Escapes and Mazda Tributes because a defect in the vehicles antilock braking system electronic control module had a nasty tendency to spontaneously combust.

Earlier in the decade, a cruise control shut off switch in Ford Expeditions, F-150 trucks and Lincoln Navigators also sometimes burst into flames.

Last year the NHTSA investigated but did not recall a potential defect in Chevrolet Tahoes and Silverados, GMC Yukons and Cadillac Escalades that makes them unpredictably ignite.

The easy light SUV is not now as well known as the problem that makes Toyotas go all Christine but it is probably more serious. Investigators and manufacturers of the vehicles are officially mystified. The fires usually occur after the SUV has been parked in a driveway or garage. Insurance companies like to accuse the vehicles’ owners of arson. And, because the problem is obscure, the insurers usually get away with denying the owner’s claim.

Free Souls Fire Department

But this time, because of the video evidence, the insurance company might not try that. If you look at the video you will see that the house was only saved because the bikers were there and acted like responsible neighbors.

After about three minutes, after the fire was mostly out, the gentleman holding the garden hose (Mike Murdoch in the video still above by Mike Kondash) greeted the Salem Fire Department with a good natured cry of, “Free Souls Fire Department.”

They did not greet him back. But then at least they did not try to blame the fire on him. The owners seemed very grateful for the helping hand.

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20 Responses to “When Bikers Do Right”

  1. Leslie Herrier Says:

    I’m an old friend of the FSMC. Love to you all

  2. Jennifer Rose: Bergies best buddy Says:

    This is Jennifer, Bergies buddy & partner! Miss y’all lots I would love to hear from any of u!! Just don’t want to bug anyone! Love u all so much!

  3. YYZ Skinhead Says:


    Excellent article by a genuine journalist. It doesn’t surprise me that Tim King is a USMC Veteran. Semper Fidelis. If I ever meet him, he deserves a beer as well.

    YYZ Skinhead

  4. Grumbler Says:

    sled tramp – my bud was packing his then 12-year-old son during our Lolo Pass Loop in 2003. While he had no problems reaching the pegs and stablizing himself, he fell asleep on the bike while on ID-75 btw Challis and Stanley. We pulled over at the rest stop in Sunbeam just in time. Two consecutive 380 mile days with one night in Missoula were a bit too much for him.

    Yeah, I also recall riding on Bear Creek Rd btw Los Gatos and Boulder Creek a bunch of years ago and saw 3 people riding a Harley in oncoming lane. It was a little girl screaming with delight on back of gas tank in front of her dad with her mom in back. They couldn’t have been happier. No helmets (helmet law in CA) Had a cop seen them, they’d been fuked.

  5. sled tramp Says:

    Thanks Grumbler,
    Tim King (the reporter) is a good guy.Tells it like it is and isn’t a filtered media clown.
    OK, I have a request. Last week in Oakland, a guy on his Harley was carrying his child on the back and he got clipped.Both were critical.Haven’t checked back to see what happened. Yesterday, in Eugene,OR another Harley got nailed and this time the rider is semi OK but his 6 year old son is bad critical.
    Little kids can’t reach the pegs and can’t stabilize.They move and wobble and having less strength, can’t hold on as well.We all know this.
    I’m not telling you one way or another but I have buried children from various causes.
    You don’t want to have to do that.
    You really, really don’t……

  6. Anonymous Says:

    Thanks for the update Grumbler, that is good news

  7. Grumbler Says:

    Speaking of patch holders in Oregon, looks as if there was a happy ending to Idaho Uses FBI Agents to Detain Oregon Motorcycle Riders http://www.salem-news.com/articles/august132009/joker_idaho_8-13_09.php as the tickets were dismissed according to a comment posted under that article on 2/24/10.

  8. Grumbler Says:

    Tim King is the Executive News Editor of http://www.Salem-News.com, and has earned full props from the biker community. If you haven’t seen it before, read his article American Motorcycle Culture: The One Percenters from last year: http://www.salem-news.com/articles/january222009/one_percenters_1-21-09.php

  9. Doc Jones Says:

    Last year my wife and I rode to Oregon for a memorial for one of my dear friends. The Free Souls were there along with a few other clubs. When the parade started my wife (she rode her own bike) and I ended up in the middle of the Free Souls. They never copped an attitude and actually were very respectful to us. We didn’t know any of them. Some of my best friends who I’ve known for over thirty years belong to the club of the Brother and my friend who passed away. We talked with a few of the Free Souls and they were very respectful and easy to be around. It doesn’t surprise me at all to hear of a good deed that some Free Souls did. I believe that there will be more in the future.

  10. YYZ Skinhead Says:

    Bikers do right all the time. Props to the Salem News people for actually acknowledging this fact.

    If I ever meet a Gypsy Jokers or Free Souls patchholder I will buy him a beer because of this.

    YYZ Skinhead

  11. Docb Says:


    another cop was also either arrested or indicted for rape of a 17 year old girl and another one was arested for beating his wife. Sounds like another federal racketering case to me. Gang violence.

  12. BigV Says:

    Rebel: Have you seen that two of Chattanooga’s cops have been suspended- one a duty commander and the other his son-in-law – because of tangents from the Chattanooga Outlaws harassment ?

    Best of all, the younger one is a member of a cop MC and the F-I-L is a “hangaround/friend” to the club.

  13. DocB Says:

    Hey Ride
    Thanks for the clip…………………. don’t cha just love it

  14. Ride Says:


    Yup, that’s what the clip is about. Funny that the residents want the cops gone and the AOA to stay.

  15. Snow Says:

    What’s the old saying? oh yea, when we do right no one remembers, when we do wrong no one forgets…respects to the Free Souls and Gypsy Jokers, great job guys

  16. Rebel Says:

    Dear Ride,

    Without looking, this is the stakeout at the AOA clubhouse in Daytona, right? I bet? I may get to it before it gets totally old. Anybody else, check it out.

    your pal,

  17. Ride Says:

    I received this story through the Colorado Coalition of Independent Riders (COIR) this morning…nice to get good press for a change. Great job, guys…much respect to the Gypsy Jokers and Free Souls.

    BTW, also got this through COIR…have you seen it yet? The local’s reaction is pretty interesting.


  18. The Creep Says:

    And, wouldn’t ya know it, leather vests, boots, and gloves are very flame retardent! I don’t think all the facial hair helps though. It sure doesn’t when my bbq gets outa control. Respect to the Gypsy Jokers and Free Souls for doin the right thing.

  19. Mr. America Says:

    The remarkable thing is; this was a “Natural Reaction” to the “True Character” of these brave men. They stepped up and did what was necessary to help someone. They didn’t look to see who’s house it was. Or, what there social status was. They just knew something needed to be done. It’s unforturnate that others would continue to make false statements and attempt to portray these types of men in such a negative light to enhance their personal careers at the cost of these mens’ lives and freedom. Weather it be the media or law enforcement. And, I’d like to say, Good job guys.

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