Firefighters from several departments worked tirelessly Friday to extinguish a fire that damaged a significant portion of Fifth Third Ballpark.
Initial reports identified fire in one of the suites along the right field foul line. Access to the fire and water supply problems hindered fire fighter efforts. Later reports indicated that a space heater placed in a suite by a construction work crew was the source of the blaze.
West Michigan Whitecaps spokesman Mickey Graham told WOOD Radio no one was hurt and all employees safely left the building.
Wyoming Fire Department Battalion Chief Dirk Ubbink told WOOD Radio that, while his department is not one of those assisting in the fire fighting efforts, he said fighting fire in extreme cold is difficult and hazardous to fire fighters.
Passersby on US 131 could see smoke and fire from several miles away as they approached the ball park. Ubbink says the fact that white smoke could be seen instead of the heavy black smoke earlier is a sign that fire fighters are making progress.
The fire broke out just before 11 Friday morning. Flames spread and broke through the roof within several minutes. A stretch of suites along the first baseline burned. Parts of the roof collapsed.
Plainfield, Alpine, and Grand Rapids Township Fire Departments were involved in the mutual aid effort against this major conflagration.
photo: WOOD TV