Fire sparks at Fifth Third Ballpark in Grand Rapids

Photo courtesy of WOOD TV-8.

Fire damaged Fifth Third Ballpark in Comstock Park just outside of Grand Rapids Friday morning.

The fire chief said a space heater is to blame for the fire. A crew had been working in a suite when the heater caught fire. They quickly put it out, but the fire reignited after they left.

Smoke and flames could be seen from miles away when crews were called to the park around 11 a.m.

After about a half hour of battling the flames from inside, firefighters were called away from the building. The roof on the skyboxes collapsed along the first base side. At least 11 suites are said to be destroyed.

"It started in one of the suites," said Chief Dave Peterson of the Plainfield Township Fire Department. "It spread into the attic area. Once it gets in the attic, it tends to move pretty fast because it has a lot of oxygen and there aren't a lot of fire breaks."

The manager also says the buildings sprinkler system was not working.

About 30 people were working in the stadium when the fire started. They were able to evacuate safely. No injuries have been reported.

Fifth Third Ballpark is home to the West Michigan Whitecaps, the single A affiliate of the Detroit Tigers.

The Whitecaps co-founder said they plan to rebuild in time to get the bats cracking opening day, April 8. The ballpark is scheduled to host the midwest league all-star game in June.