Report Confirms Fifth Third Fire Started by Space Heater, Sprinkler System Failed

COMSTOCK PARK, Mich. — A full report from the Plainfield Fire Department Investigator confirms that the Jan. 3 Fifth Third Ballpark fire was accidentally started by a space heater while crews were working on one of the suites.

The report also says that the fire suppression system, last inspected in 2013, “failed to respond appropriately after the ignition of the fire.”

Sprinklers in the suite where the fire started did not activate properly, Fire Investigator Kyle Svoboda concludes in the report.

The fire suppression system underwent roughly $50,000 worth of maintenance in 2012 to “fix air leaks in the system,” according to the report.

“The fire protection system consists of two risers, one for the first base section of the suites and concession stands and one for the main suites, offices, and third base suites,” Svoboda writes.

The fire was stopped where the two systems are separated.  The first base section of the park sustained extreme damage in the suite and concession stand areas.  They collapsed and burned on the stadium level.

Full conclusion segment of the report:

The area of origin is located in Suite 306

  1. The cause of the fire is accidental
  2. The ignition source is a space heater located on the floor
  3. The cause of the fire is related to combustibles being placed too close to a space heater
  4. The fire suppression system failed to respond appropriately after the ignition of the fire

The “combustibles” referred to in item three of that list are later defined as a trash cart that was pushed too close to the space heater.  The report also says that both of the space heaters being used were turned on high.

Approximately 25 workers were in the ballpark at the time of the fire.  All of them made it out safely, and no firefighters were injured while containing the blaze.

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