After Ballpark Fire, Vermont Lake Monsters Bouncing Back

A smoky blaze tore through the clubhouse of the popular Burlington baseball team

The Vermont Lake Monsters are getting back in the swing of things, following a damaging fire that tore through a critical building last week at Centennial Field in Burlington.

Thursday night, when the team was on the road, smoke and flames tore through the Monsters’ club house, locker room, and gym, leaving the roof in danger of collapse.

The heat even partially melted a helmet, which staff members showed necn Tuesday, warping its brim.

The city’s fire marshal is investigating the cause of the incident, the Burlington Fire Department said late Thursday, but told reporters it was nothing suspicious.

No one was hurt in the fire, the fire department added.

“Grateful no one was in there,” said Jeramiah McCray, a Lake Monsters center fielder from Riverside, California.

For now, McCray and his teammates are using temporary space behind Centennial Field.

“It’s kind of a bummer, because it’s a downgrade from what we’re used to,” the player said.

Work is already underway to transform an under-used building into a new clubhouse, to at least get the players and staff through the rest of the season.

“We have to move forward,” said Joe Doud, the general manager of the Vermont Lake Monsters.

Doud said down the road, insurance should help with a permanent fix.

“They’re a first-place team right now,” Doud told necn. “We’re trying to keep them as on-pace as possible, and really make sure they’re not impacted, or are as minimally-impacted as possible.”

Champ, the team mascot, was working hard to guarantee fan support at a daytime game Tuesday, through his signature antics for the crowd.

Doud praised the fan base in Burlington for rallying around the team, saying the sell-out crowd upon their return from the series on the road was the kind of help that will enable the Monsters to fully rebound from the fire.

And if the fire was a disruption, it didn’t show Tuesday: The Vermont Lake Monsters beat the Tri-City ValleyCats 11 to 3.

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