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School loses sports equipment in press box fire, officials say

Published On: Dec 24 2013 02:35:05 AM CST   Updated On: Aug 20 2013 10:15:16 AM CDT

Mary Jo Ola

EVANSVILLE, Wis. -

At least 300 kids lost their sports equipment just as the Youth Football Program begins after the Evansville High School press box burned down Saturday night.

Evansville Fire Chief Terry Wendt said investigators estimate the damage to be between $150,000 and $200,000, but the exact amount is not yet known.

Evansville police said they were conducting security checks at the Evansville High School at 640 South 5th St. when they noticed smoke coming from the press box.

The Evansville Fire Department responded and extinguished the fire, officials said. The press box sustained extensive damage.

Officials said they are finished at the scene and the cause is still undetermined. They still have interviews to conduct and witnesses claim to have seen people at the scene.

Capt. Todd Christiansen of the Rock County Sheriff's Office said authorities are learning towards it not being suspicious.

The press box also stored memorabilia from past championships and games.
Evansville District Administrator Jerry Roth found out about the fire late Saturday night.

"You worry obviously. You want to make sure everybody's safe," said Roth.

Neighbors have already stepped up to help with fundraising and rebuilding.

"That's the beauty of a town like Evansville. People pull together. We're very proud of our community and they're very proud of the school district," said Roth.

Friday night's game against Union Grove will go on as scheduled. A structural engineer will check the bleachers. If they're deemed unsafe the district will put up temporary seats for the community to use.

Officials ask anyone with information regarding the incident to call Evansville police at 608-882-2299.

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