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Whitecaps vow to rebuild after fire
COMSTOCK PARK, Mich. (NEWSCHANNEL 3) We now know the cause of the fire that ripped through Fifth Third Ballpark.
The luxury suites at the West Michigan landmark caught fire around 11:00 am Friday and departments from all over the area worked to put out the flames in the bitter cold.
The Plainfield Township Fire Chief says a worker in one of those suites using a heater is the cause of Fridays flames.
While a good section of the ballpark was gutted, ownership says this wont change anything for the West Michigan Whitecaps.
It spread super quick, said Rockford firefighter Jamie Davies. Its a tall building, its super windy and its a large open area.
Firefighters say the battle was made infinitely harder by the single digit temperatures.
Spraying the water and it comes back to you from the wind and freezes instantly, said Davies.
In all, a dozen suites, roughly a third of the Fifth Third Ballpark was lost before the fight was finished.
This is a hurdle to overcome to be sure, said Whitecaps managing partner Denny Baxter, but we will overcome it.
Baxter says he was notified of the fire just before noon.
My wife is actually undergoing chemotherapy today and we were dealing with an insurance issue there and he called and I said, seriously today, I mean today? said Baxter.
Obviously emotional at times, while taking questions on Friday Baxter was unwavering in one simple fact; that what is done is done and all that matters is what is next.
Well rebuild it and well be just as strong and just as vibrant as we ever have been, said Baxter.
Baxter says the park will be ready in time for opening day even if the repairs are not complete.
He also says Fifth Third will host the leagues all-star game as scheduled.