WEST WARWICK — West Warwick Police are continuing to investigate a fire that greatly damaged a concession stand, after it was deemed suspicious by the Fire Marshal.
West Warwick Fire Chief Joe Baris explained that on Aug. 3 at 8:30 p.m. fire personnel responded to a fire at a concession stand near the girl’s softball field at Riverpoint Park.
“The police are doing the investigation currently and they are working with the Fire Marshal,” he said. “But all the signs lead to arson.”
Matt Tyler, President of the West Warwick girl’s softball league, explained that there was a large amount of damage done to the building.
He said there are burns in the back of the stand and an eight foot hole in the wall facing the field.
He said the firefighters also had to pull off 15 boards to make sure the fire had not spread to inside the walls.
Tyler said the only three things that were salvageable in the building were the two pitching machines and the new freezer.
“We lost everything else in that room because of water and smoke damage,” he said. “All the cooking utensils for the hot dogs and hamburgers, steam machine, big Pepsi cooler, table, all the countertops and cabinets.”
He said damage of this magnitude has never occurred before, even though the various concession stands on the fields have seen vandalism throughout the years.
“In the past we’ve been broken into multiple times,” he said. “Because there are no lights down there it’s difficult to see if people are in the fields at night. I’ve had to build steel cages over the windows and doors.”
Tyler explained that during the past 10 years, $10,000 worth of property has been stolen.
He said the league has purchased between four and five cash registers throughout the years, and all of the registers have been stolen as well.
“The only thing we can do in the future is have some lighting and cameras put in down there to keep an eye on the property,” he said. “It’s frustrating because it’s constant repair for what other people have done and they don’t seem to care about the kids in the league. It’s a difficult area to control.”
He said that even though the town is helping the league with repairs to the building, the league is still responsible for replacing all the damaged equipment.
Tyler said the league has opened up a building fund and “anybody willing to donate money to help would be greatly appreciated.”
Donations can be mailed to the following address or at the Centreville Savings Bank, 1218 Main St.
West Warwick Girl’s Softball League, P.O. Box 1246, West Warwick, R.I. 02893.