McKale Center fire damages estimated to cost $60K
Tyler Besh / Arizona Daily Wildcat
McKale equipment room covered after fire
The cost of damage following Saturday’s fire in McKale Center has been estimated at tens of thousands of dollars, and is expected to increase.
Smoke, fire and water damage in the center has been estimated at about $60,000 following a fire within the building, said Cpt. Barrett Baker, a public information officer with the Tucson Fire Department.
Investigators determined the fire Saturday night was the result of a spontaneous combustion of rags, Baker said. The rags had been washed and dried a few hours prior to the fire, placed in a plastic bag and set down in a particular room in the equipment area. The fire set off a sprinkler in the room.
The total amount of damage to equipment and uniforms has not yet been determined, said UA athletic director Greg Byrne at the weekly football press conference on Monday. Currently, the equipment staff has been working to ensure the teams are outfitted for practice and for games, he added.
Byrne said the results of the fire extended to locker room areas nearby the equipment room, including rooms occupied by the swimming and baseball programs, leaving “an effect across the board for a number of sports.”
Despite damage from the fire, the volleyball match against USC was still held in McKale Center Sunday night. Byrne also said staff is speaking with equipment providers regarding what can be washed, cleaned and reused and what should be replaced.
Now that the investigation is over, Baker said the athletic department has already begun their restoration process.
TFD was alerted to the scene Saturday night after smoke was seen coming from the building. About 40 firefighters responded to put out the fire.