Fire Damages Nanaimo Football Team Practice Facilities and Equipment – ​​Nanaimo News Bulletin

Nanaimo’s VI Raiders football team will need to replace equipment worth thousands of dollars that was damaged in a fire early this morning.

Firefighters responded to an alarm at the football team’s practice tower in Caledonia Park around 7am on Tuesday July 12. The small fire damaged the back rear corner of the structure as it burned sheets of plywood under the building’s metal cladding and in one of three storage bays before crews extinguished the fire.

Josh Williams, the team’s general manager, said he hauled two van loads of damaged play and training equipment to the landfill and estimated the cost of the damage in the tens of thousands. Williams said the team took over the building and grounds as a training facility in late June.

“It started on the outside of the tower, went into the first bay…smoke billowing all the way inside, smoke damage all over the building,” Williams said. “Slowly and surely, we were just settling here.”

Williams said this is the first incident of vandalism or property damage the team has suffered since moving in, but problems with vandalism and break-ins have persisted at the site for a long time.

“It hurts the organization,” he said. “We are a non-profit organization and it costs a lot of man hours and a lot of money to keep running. We do our best to put together a good program for the kids and make something like this happen… it really sucks. You can never do anything for your organization and take the necessary steps to grow and be competitive.

Williams said boards, pitch markers and other equipment needed to play matches will need to be replaced and should be borrowed from other football organizations, if possible, in the meantime.

He said there were other problems at the park; for example, he should regularly check the field for discarded needles.

“Things like that, they never seem to end here,” Williams said. “I’ve been trying to get my hands on this facility for a few months now and slowly we’re taking steps to provide a nice and safe atmosphere for these kids…It’s a public park and it’s one of the most beautiful parks in Nanaimo and they are just not taken care of very well.

Williams said it would take time and fundraising to replace the destroyed equipment and repair the building.

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