Heater sparks fire at minor league ball park in west Michigan

Tigers make statements regarding Whitecaps' ballpark

Published On: Jan 03 2014 12:12:56 PM EST   Updated On: Jan 03 2014 05:07:57 PM EST
PLAINFIELD TOWNSHIP, Mich. -

A fire burned Friday at a minor league ballpark in western Michigan, sending heavy smoke high into the air over an adjacent highway.

There were no immediate reports of injuries at the 10,000-seat Fifth Third Ballpark near Grand Rapids.

The fire, which was reported about 11 a.m., was burning 90 minutes later with smoke visible for miles.

Temperatures were in the single digits as firefighting crews responded from a handful of area agencies. No one was immediately available at the fire department in Kent County's Plainfield Township, the lead agency on the fire, to provide information.

Heater sparks fire at ballpark

The fire started when a work crew was using a heater at the site. The heater started a small fire and the crew thought they put it out. They left the ball park. When they returned, the whole place was up in flames.

The Associated Press left phone and email messages seeking information from officials at Fifth Third Ballpark, which is the home of the West Michigan Whitecaps, the Class A affiliate of the Detroit Tigers. The ballpark opened in 1994 as Old Kent Park and changed to its current name in 2000.

The ballpark is scheduled to be the site of the 50th Midwest League All-Star Game in June. The 2014 game would be the third All-Star Game the Whitecaps have hosted in their 20-year history (1995, 2003).

The Detroit Tigers issued a statement in regard to the situation at Fifth Third Ballpark:

"The Whitecaps management immediately made our organization aware of their situation today at Fifth Third Ballpark, and will provide further details as they develop. We certainly hope for the best for all parties involved. The Tigers look forward to attending the Whitecaps annual baseball banquet later this month as part of the annual Detroit Tigers Winter Caravan."