MADRAS, Ore. - (Update with vice principal comments)
A fire of suspicious origin broke out in the baseball field dugouts at Madras High School early Tuesday morning, prompting an arson investigation, officials said.
Crews responding to the fire, reported just after 5 a.m., found the dugout along the first-base side on fire, said Jefferson County Fire District No. 1 Captain Kasey Skaar.
The first people on scene found the dugout 70 percent on fire, and crews quickly put it out before it could move to an adjacent building, Skaar said. Firefighters were on scene mopping up for about an hour at the school on Southeast 10th Street.
The concession stand and outhouse were heavily damaged by the fire and will need to be rebuilt because they are now unstable, Skaar said. Only the restrooms burned to the ground, he added.
Madras High School Vice Principal H.D. Weddel said it's too early to say who could be responsible for the damage.
“The fire investigation is going on right now," he said. "We can make some guesses. We really don’t feel that students were involved, but we’ll just have to wait and see."
Weddel added that despite some rumors, the fire won't disrupt the White Buffalo's summer baseball program.
“We’ll get those guys back out there. They may not have a dugout for a little bit, but when summer baseball comes around, by golly, our troops will be right out there playing,” he said.
Anyone with information that could help in the investigation was asked to contact the fire district at 541-475-7274.