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Fire destroys part of West Michigan ballpark where Detroit Tigers’ Single-A team plays

Mike Oz
Big League Stew

Fifth Third Ballpark in Comstock Park, Mich., was devastated by a fire Friday that began in the stadium's skyboxes and ultimately led to their collapse. The ballpark is the home of the West Michigan Whitecaps, the Single-A team of the Detroit Tigers.

WOOD-TV has more on the fire and its aftermath:

[D]uring a news conference Friday afternoon, West Michigan Whitecaps CFO Dennis Baxter said they would rebuild, and hoped to be ready for the beginning of the regular season on April 8.

The fire started around 11 a.m. at the 20-year-old ballpark, which is located near West River Drive and US-131 in Plainfield Township. Smoke from the fire could be seen from miles away. There were 30 employees at the ballpark at the time of the fire, but everyone was able to get out safely. No injuries were reported.

Firefighters had to evacuate the building a half hour after they began to fight the fire, and went into defensive mode. About thirty minutes after that, the roof over the skyboxes along the first-base line began to collapse.

It's good to hear no one was hurt, because some of the photos from the scene made the fire look pretty scary:

One bit of unfortunate news: The fire wasn't put out as quickly as it could have been, local firefighters say, because there were only two hydrants near the stadium. According to MLive.com, firefighters used hydrants some 1,500 feet away, which negatively effected the water pressure available.

You can bet the lack of fire hydrants will be addressed as the stadium is rebuilt.

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Mike Oz is an editor for Big League Stew on Yahoo Sports. Have a tip? Email him at mikeozstew@yahoo.com or follow him on Twitter!

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