Fire guts Whittier Field press box
While the majority of Bowdoin students concerned themselves with various plans for spring break on Friday night, March 12, local firefighters attended to the blazing press box at Whittier Field.
The fire destroyed the entire press box area and caused serious damage to the concrete roof decking and steel supports.
The blaze was caused by an electrical malfunction of a light switch located inside the press box area. The structure has not been used since the conclusion of the Bowdoin football season last November, and this extended period of neglect is thought to be partly responsible for the electrical mishap.
Further damage to the surrounding area including the historical century-old Hubbard Grandstand was prevented by the timely arrival of 29 firefighters from Brunswick and nearby Topsham fire stations.
According to Deputy Fire Chief Clark Labbe, limited access on the field combined with the height of the structure did not allow for the use of an aerial ladder, making the fire exceptionally difficult to fight.
Nevertheless the blaze was extinguished relatively quickly and the last fire trucks vacated the premises at 2:14 a.m.
Bowdoin Director of Safety and Security Bruce Boucher credits much of this prompt action to the phone call received by the fire station notifying them of the blaze. "We were very fortunate to have been alerted to the fire's existence quickly on the night that it occurred...the fire department was able to rapidly contain the blaze to the press box area [resulting] in less damage caused by the fire."
Bowdoin has consulted its insurance company regarding the cost of rebuilding the press box, and the site has been reviewed by the campus construction/project personnel. So far there are no definite plans as to when the structure will be rebuilt.
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