Members of the Mattydale-Hinsdale Little League are assessing damage after a fire swept through parts of their town park overnight.
Firefighters were called to Burnham Park on Westwood Avenue in Mattydale around 3:00 am Monday to respond to reports of a fire. The park's pavilion was completely destroyed and the nearby concession stand was badly damaged. There were no injuries reported, but the pavilion had to be taken down once the fire was extinguished.
"The main gazebo is a total loss. That will be torn down by parks and the Town of Salina after the fire investigators get done with their investigation," said Chief Ron Boskot of the Hinsdale Fire Department.
It was a devastating sight for children who love the park. Children volunteer their time to help at the concession stand, and the league depends on it to bring in money.
"A lot of hard work just went to waste," says 10-year-old Alec Miller. "Now, this place is just garbage."
Board members say they've dealt with vandalism at the park before. They say someone put graffiti on the pavilion, damaged fields, and tried to break into the concession stand.
Fire investigators say they're still looking into what caused the fire , but some Little League board members say they believe it was another act of vandalism.
"This is what takes care of the kids, and keeps them out of trouble," says league vice president Brett Miller. "That's why we play baseball, to keep kids from doing stuff like this."
The park is being used as a host site for "Fall Ball" this season. Board members say they hope the concession stand can be repaired soon because it's a money maker for the league.
Salina Town Supervisor Mark Nicotra says the town hasn't decided what it's going to do about the damage, yet.