Patrick Center January 3, 2014 | WGVU “Two aerial pumpers are positioned high above the ballpark spraying hundreds of gallons of water on this fire that started around 11 o’clock it is now 12:30. If you’ve been to Fifth Third Ballpark this fire extends from the main entry point all the way down the first base line. That structure is fully engulfed. Plumes of black and white smoke filling the air. You can see this from 10 perhaps 20 miles away. For motorists on 131 near the ballpark they are driving through a haze of smoke.”“We fought it primarily from the exterior. The first base side was so highly involved that we decided to try to save the third base side and the center of the structure and concentrate our efforts on doing that. We were successful at that.”Plainfield Charter Township Fire Chief Dave Peterson says the 50 firefighters from five local departments had to overcome an obstacle on arrival.“There weren’t adequate number of hydrants for the number of apparatus we were trying to use. We had to pull hose quite a ways in order to get enough hose to fight the fire.”A fire sparked in a luxury suite sweeping through the attic.“I…just absolute shock.”Whitecaps Co-Owner, Denny Baxter.“Twenty years ago folks used to say, ‘If you build it they will come’ given the movie. I would like to believe here once again if you rebuild it people will come once again. Lew and I have been very, very blessed with support of this community for this franchise and our entire history and I think they are going to rally around us and they are going to help us through our difficult time.”Whitecaps ownership has confirmed a rebuild will take place with the aim to play ball opening day April 8th. Fifth Third Ballpark will play host the Midwest League’s 50th All-Star Game June 17th.
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