FD: Youth league equipment fire could be arson

YORKTOWN, Va. (WAVY) — Fire officials say a fire that destroyed thousands of dollars worth of equipment needed to run a Yorktown youth football league could have been an act of arson.

Around 1 p.m. Sunday, firefighters rushed to the football field behind Yorktown Middle School, according to Assistant Chief Paul Long with the York County Department of Fire and Life Safety. A container full of equipment and cheerleading uniforms was on fire.

PHOTOS: Fire destroys youth league equipment

Now fire investigators say a new lead points to someone having intentionally set the fire.

“Having this happen is going to put a real kink in what’s already a very taxed budget plan for the year,” said Hank Henry, who is the president of the Yorktown Patriots Football and Cheerleading organization.

The Yorktown Patriots own the two storage containers that sit at the back of the property of Yorktown M.S., where they play their games. The fire destroyed the storage container with the league’s concession equipment and cheerleading uniforms. The second container may have smoke damage.2

Joan Holloway, the league’s vice president, said the unit destroyed had everything from grills, pans, uniforms, and gifts in it.

According to Holloway and Healy, the fire will set the league back about $8,000 to $10,000.

Healy said concessions are crucial to their budget: “The profits from that usually turn around the same day and pay off the fee for having the [referrees] and everything else.”

The Yorktown Patriots have 200 kids who take part in their program every summer and fall.The kids are between ages six and 14. Healy and Holloway say the boys and girls thrive in the league.

“It’s a low-income area,” said Holloway. “A lot of the parents, you know, they don’t have a lot of money … It’s an outlet for [the kids] to give them something to do to keep them out of trouble.”

As Healy said, they won’t let this fire stop them. Football and cheerleading will happen for the kids come July.

“We’re bound and determined this isn’t going to slow us down this year,” said Healy. “We’re going to find a way to come back and get going.”

Long said the fire is still under investigation. It’s not clear whether the fire was accidental or intentionally set.

Healy and Holloway said they didn’t have insurance on the two storage containers, so the league will accept donations of money or even concession equipment to help make up for the loss.

The Fleet Reserve Association (FRA) Branch 172 in Yorktown voted Tuesday to donate $300 to the league to help out.

For more information and to learn about ways you can help, call (757) 320-8171 or visit the league website at http://www.leaguelineup.com/welcome.asp?url=nyp.

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