Quick thinking prevents press box fire from spreading

Quick thinking prevents press box fire from spreading

BRAY, Okla._A fire destroyed the press box at the Bray-Doyle High School's football stadium, but some quick thinking kept the fire from spreading to the entire stadium.

The fire broke out Monday around 3:00 p.m. while the softball team was practicing in a field behind the football stadium. The coach saw smoke and called for help. That help included the superintendent who rushed to the stadium to do what he could until the fire crews arrived.

Superintendent David Eads says he was in disbelief when he heard what was happening, he just needed to get to the school as fast as he could to get the situation under control. He says when he arrived, the press box was smoldering.

"The smoke was so thick inside you couldn't see where the flames were or what was the source of it," Eads explained.

Eads says a maintenance man quickly noticed the water cannon on the football field and the three-inch water hose could be unhooked. With the aid of students, they drug it up the stairs and began to put out the fire."

"Rodney knocked out a window and the door where we could feed the hose through it and get the three-inch hose in with pretty good pressure," Eads said.

Fire extinguishers were also used until the fire department arrived.

"The only way we were able to keep this from being a complete loss was the reaction of the staff, volunteer fire department and other people in the community," Eads said.

The first home game for Bray-Doyle is one week from Friday; Eads says the goal is to have a new press box ready by then.

"We're taking in bids currently, discussing with a certified welder on what they believe the expense would be," Eads explained.

Eads says they have also been offered the use of a crane and an operator to remove the current press box. The new one will be put together on the ground before it's lifted and welded to the vertical and horizontal supports. If the press box cannot be replaced in that time, there are some alternatives. On the visitors' side there is an open-air press box they can utilize, since the scoreboard operates wirelessly.

"Basically anywhere they can have a line of sight of the entire field and be within the range of the wireless unit," Eads explained.

Eads says another option will be to set a table up in the corner of the stands on the home side. The school has money in their building fund that will go towards replacing the press box.

The cause of the fire has not been determined, but Eads says it appeared to have started near an electrical box. An insurance appraiser is expected to come and review the damage Wednesday. Another insurance investigator will come on Monday. Eads says it is unclear how long their investigation will last.