OT: Fifth Third Bank ballpark (Grand Rapids) on FIRE!

Submitted by Fhshockey112002 on January 3rd, 2014 at 12:39 PM

Home to the West Michigan Whitecaps, in Grand Rapids. Fire apparently started on the executive suite level. The first baseline section of the suite level has collapsed down on to lower stadium seating.


Edit: Sorry was on iphone and couldn't update title



January 3rd, 2014 at 2:18 PM ^

Been to a couple Lugnuts games on Fan Appreciation night - free concessions all game (outside of alcohol). Great time, though more people in line than in the stands.

If a team like the Lugnuts can do that, really makes me question the ticket pricing of alot of teams.


January 3rd, 2014 at 1:12 PM ^

that said they drain the water lines and don't heat that section in the winter. Therefore the sprinklers were not active. They also store propane in that section. Sadly, kegs of beer are also stored there so expect high beer prices. /s


January 3rd, 2014 at 12:45 PM ^

Sad, I hope they don't find that it was caused by something silly like some exec leaving on a space heater or something.

Ironically, the Man vs Food episode that was filmed there was on TV yesterday...


January 3rd, 2014 at 1:12 PM ^

Coincidence and irony are not the same thing. Now if it had just appeared on a show running down the list of top 10 most flame retardant buildings, you'd have irony. And a really strange show that I can't imagine anyone would watch.


January 3rd, 2014 at 2:52 PM ^

I didn't even know an Applebees existed in Ludington, and I'm there a lot (Ludington, not Applebees).  The one bad thing I can think of is that was probably one of the few places in town that keep normal hours during the off-season. Almost the whole town shuts down at 5pm, and is closed on Sundays from Labor Day to Memorial Day. 


January 3rd, 2014 at 12:50 PM ^

The local news people on the linked feed are talking as if the stadium will be completely destroyed by the fire.  Pretty dramatic video.  Hopefully no one is hurt in the fire, otherwise I'm going to feel pretty ghoulish watching the video with such fascination.


January 3rd, 2014 at 12:50 PM ^

Wow, Sparty fans really stepped up their game this year after winning the Rose Bowl. It's not just couches that aren't safe any more.


(Obviously, I'm glad that everyone is safe and I hope that they'll be able to rebuild the stadium in time for the season to start. I'm over near Grand Rapids and this is what everyone is talking about this afternoon. I'm not quite close enough to see the smoke from my house).


January 3rd, 2014 at 1:02 PM ^

Ah, looks like Battle Creek moved to Midland a couple years ago, so they're no longer in Battle Creek. 


Living a couple miles from GVSU would make me super guilty about not going to any games this summer if they were to move there, much like I feel super guilty about not going to any of their football games every fall.


January 3rd, 2014 at 1:34 PM ^

Did my undergraduate at GVSU, It could be an option, but that stadium is a little to small, plus it would be harder to collect revenue as their are no suites or concession stands. They would also have to bring in a ton of porto-johns and I bet the "press-box" would be to small as well. It is a really nice field however. I think what the Whitecaps would do is move home games to where the Lansing Lugnuts play. A little out of the way, but its a large stadium in a decent sized city. Scheduling would be a nightmare, but maybe it could be done.


January 3rd, 2014 at 12:56 PM ^

Beyond the loss (hopefully just to property, not life), I do not envy anyone fighting a fire in single digit weather. Not that it's ever  walk in the park, but on days like today, it's got to be challenging in the extreme.

MI Expat NY

January 3rd, 2014 at 1:45 PM ^

I think he's generally right, even if he's underselling the damage.  Damage seems limited to one side of the suites.  Even if those aren't operable for the season, only need to stabalize the section so that the rest of the stadium is usable for it to be a better situation than any alternatives.  I would think they can produce a makeshift stadium in 3.5 months before the season opens.

Phil Brickma

January 3rd, 2014 at 1:58 PM ^

Also appears to have destroyed the home clubhouse. Will take three months of marathon construction over the winter to get it ready. I'd love for it to be ready by April, but it will be a huge undertaking.

To be fair to the media coverage, the fire spread at a very quick pace. It appeared for a time that the whole structure was going to be lost. Kudos to the fire crews for their hard work.

MI Expat NY

January 3rd, 2014 at 2:10 PM ^

But again, don't have to make it perfect.  They could use the visitor's clubhouse as the home clubhouse and create something passable for visitors for the season.  There will have to be some outside of the box thinking, but almost anything that can utilize what is undamaged is going to be better than any of the alternatives.  

Sac Fly

January 3rd, 2014 at 1:45 PM ^

It looks like truss construction.

If the fire got up into the void spaces and collapsed even one of the trusses, which it sounds like it did, then the structural integrity of the entire roof is compromised.

It's hot up there; eventually the gusset plates heat up and push out of the truss. I wouldn't be surprised to see more of the roof come down.