Historic baseball stadium and football stadium on fire

Photo by Dominique Genetti

RFK Stadium in Washington, DC, circa 1969. (Photo by Nate Fine/Getty Images)

Nate Fine/NFL

Washington, DC firefighters had to fight their way inside the old RFK Stadium on Tuesday, July 5, when the structure was discovered to be emitting black smoke. Fire officials said several different fires were underway when they arrived.

The historic stadium, which was home to two Major League Baseball teams, an NFL franchise, a Major League Soccer club and several notable events, was billowing smoke at the stadium’s Gate C entrance, according to WTTG Fox 5, around 5:30 p.m. EST. DC Fire and EMS said no one was injured. How the fires started is also unknown.

Video posted to Twitter shows black smoke billowing from what was once the base’s first dugout.

Events DC, which controls the facility, released a statement clarifying the process of demolishing the 60-year-old concrete donut.

RFK Stadium has not been used as a sports facility since 2017 and has been mostly abandoned for almost five years.

MLS’s DC United were the last team to call the stadium home. It was the longtime home of the NFL’s Washington Commanders franchise and home to both the Washington Expansion Senators and MLB’s Washington Nationals.

The stadium was the first of what are known as cookie-cutter stadiums. Multi-purpose stadiums are built to accommodate baseball and football with a circular or square design and moveable seating to accommodate each sport. Baseball and football teams followed suit in Atlanta, St. Louis, San Diego, Cincinnati, Philadelphia and Pittsburgh.

RFK Stadium was named for Senator Robert F. Kennedy after his assassination by Sirhan Sirhan in 1968. The MLB All-Star Game was hosted here in 1962 and 1969, as well as the MLS All-Star Game in 2004.

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