Fire at Liberty High damages equipment shed, snack bar

October 23, 2002|BY A SUN STAFF WRITER

Soccer games were canceled yesterday at Liberty High School after track and field equipment in a storage shed caught fire, damaging the shed and its adjacent snack bar and restrooms, fire officials said.

It took 35 firefighters about 40 minutes to control the fire, which started accidentally about 3:30 p.m. when the exhaust pipe of a lawn mower made contact with a petroleum-based pad that is used in jumping events in track and field meets, said Bobby Ray Chesney, chief of Sykesville-Freedom District Fire Department.

"The exhaust system of the tractor was hot and when it touched that big pad, being a petroleum-based product, up it went," Chesney said. Working up the walls of the building and then to the roof, the fire caused extensive damage to the building and most of its contents, he said, putting preliminary damage estimates in the tens of thousands of dollars.

The only items saved from the building - a 20-foot-by-60-foot structure near the track area of the football stadium - were the burgers, hot dogs and pizzas for Friday night's Homecoming football game.

"We yanked the freezers and refrigerators out and hooked up the electric current to the generators on the fire engines and saved all the foodstuffs," Chesney said. The fire was extinguished shortly after 6 p.m.

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