03/04/11 10:44 AM ET
Dryer sparks fire at Goodyear Ballpark
By Jordan Bastian / MLB.com
The dryer in question had already earned the nickname, "The Burner."
On Friday, Burner sat in a pool of water, charred and destroyed in the bowels of Goodyear Ballpark. It is believed that the dryer overheated, causing a small fire to break out in the early-morning hours at Goodyear Ballpark.
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The mild blaze was quickly contained and the Indians and Rockies went ahead with their 3:05 p.m. ET Cactus League contest -- a 6-2 Cleveland victory -- as planned. The only change was that Colorado was asked to take batting practice at its complex in Scottsdale, Ariz. The Indians hold their pregame hitting at their Minor League complex a half-mile away.
"It was really uneventful," said Goodyear Ballpark manager Nathan Torres. "We had an appliance fire with our dryer. It was contained [within] the dryer itself, so no damage to the structure. It's a non-public area. It's still under investigation."
The dryer is located in a laundry room behind the right-field wall at the ballpark, which is shared by the Indians and Reds. Cincinnati had a night game on Thursday, and the dryer was filled with towels and running when the fire started overnight. Emergency crews were on the scene at 6 a.m. MT.
"On my way in driving, I saw all the police cars," said Indians manager Manny Acta. "Then I saw a helicopter at the same time. My first thought was maybe there was an escapee or something from jail. I had no idea about the fire until I came in."
The sprinkler system inside the laundry room and tunnel worked as expected, putting out most of the blaze before workers reached the scene. Torres noted that there was some staff on hand at the ballpark at the time, but no one was injured.
"The good news is everything worked as it is designed to work," Torres said. "The fire suppression kicked on, the fire department was deployed and did a great job. They knocked it down before there was any structural damage."
The sprinklers did leave behind plenty of standing water, though. Some excess water drained into the warning track in right field, but a team of grounds crew workers were fixing the issue Friday morning. An indoor batting cage -- across the hall from the laundry room -- was also flooded.
The field was ready in plenty of time for Friday's game.
Torres said the fire was the first incident in the young history of Goodyear Ballpark, which opened in early 2009. This is the Indians' third Spring Training in Goodyear, Ariz., since moving from Winter Haven, Fla. Cincinnati has shared the ballpark with Cleveland for the past two springs.
"Everything's fine," Torres said. "We're ready to play ball."
Acta laughed when he heard the dryer originally came from Winter Haven.
"Are you serious?" Acta said. "Well, now we'll have a new one."