Update (4:37 p.m. on Nov. 6)
In an update from the Community Schools of Frankfort, officials determined that the fire taht occurred at the Frankfort High School football field’s press box on Halloween night has officially been determined as accidental.
Officials with the Frankfort Fire Department and investigators with NEFCO Insurance said that the fire was caused by an electrical issue, according to the update.
“With this ruling, the Community Schools of Frankfort can now move forward with plans to demolish the damaged press box and construct a new facility in its place,” the update read. “The Community Schools of Frankfort is committed to providing a safe experience for the Frankfort students, staff, and community members when attending events at the football field. We are thankful for the firefighters’ quick response in handling the fire and that no one was harmed. Additional thanks to the Frankfort Fire Department, NEFCO, and the community for their support and patience as we have responded to this matter.”
FRANKFORT, Ind. — Fire investigators have not ruled out arson as they look into a blaze that destroyed the press box at the Frankfort High School’s football complex on Tuesday night.
Fire crews responded to the field just after 9 p.m. on Halloween night when a passerby noticed flames shooting out of the box and called 911. The fire chief said it took them nearly an hour to get the blaze under control.
“It doesn’t look good from here especially when you see a leaning structure and it’s just burnt out from the inside,” said Community Schools of Frankfort Superintendent Matt Rhoda.
The fire left metal and ash scattered across the stadium’s bleachers. Investigators were back at the complex this morning sifting through what’s left and trying to determine what sparked it.
“They will come in and start looking at different burn patterns and determine what may have taken place,” Fire Chief Matt Stidham said.
Stidham said investigators have not ruled out the possibility that the fire was intentionally set but they are exploring all avenues. School officials said the complex was locked up but because of the damage, it’s unclear if the press box was tampered with.
“It’s a shock because since 1983 it’s been without incident out here,” Rhoda said.
The 40-year-old press box has been there as long as the high school football field has existed. Its sentimental value was made clear on social media with so many, including Athletic Director Ed Niehaus, expressing their sadness that it’s gone.
“It’s going to be missed,” Niehaus said. “It’s going to be missed. Like I said it was part of the field and we are going to need to now find something better.”
The fire chief said the box is a total loss and it could be several days before they determine the cause.
The school district has contacted its insurance company to get that process started. What will go up in its place is yet to be determined.
Anyone with information on this fire is asked the contact the Frankfort Fire Department at (765) 654-4329.