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Second small fire put out at Fifth Third Ballpark this morning

Fifth Third Ballpark

A second small fire that was rekindled after a major blaze at Fifth Third Ballpark, home of the West Michigan Whitecaps (Low Class A; Midwest League), was put out by fire crews today.

The small fire, which was started by smouldering remains, was put out around 8 a.m. this morning.

One additional casualty of the fire: the right-field concourse hosting Tiger Friday and the Fifth Third burger stand, was also destroyed. The day after the fire destroyed 12 suites at the ballpark, team officials are evaluating their options. Denny Baxter, the team’s CFO, held a press conference yesterday and vowed there would be baseball played on the field come opening day; he also said the 2014 Midwest League All-Star Game would proceed as planned. To say this will be a challenging situation for Whitecaps owners Baxter and Lew Chamberlin (and their family members involved in the front office), as well as team president Scott Lane and VP Jim Jarecki is an understatement, but they will surely receive lots of support from other league owners and parent Detroit Tigers. From

Co-owner Denny Baxter, at his Muskegon home, learned about the blaze in a phone call as he and his wife, Cheryl, dealt with an insurance issue as she copes with chemotherapy for treatment of lung cancer.

“This isn’t what I expected to be doing today,” Baxter said as he faced media members while Lew Chamberlin, his longtime friend and business partner, raced back from an engagement in Chicago.

“There are a great deal of emotions,” Baxter said, his voice wavering slightly. “It’s a lot more than just a business. It’s a community member, and we’ve got a lot of ourselves into this with our families.”

The total damage from the fire was estimated at $500,000, and was likely caused by a space heater left by a work crew. It’s also believed the automatic sprinkler system was disabled after a false alarm earlier yesterday.

RELATED STORIES: Baxter: We’ll reopen Fifth Third Ballpark for season opener; Fire breaks out at Fifth Third Ballpark


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