Cops call for community assistance with baseball field fire investigation
Who poured gasoline onto the infield of Ridgefield’s Governor Park and lit it ablaze?
Photos on social media show both baseball teams — Ridgefield and Amity — in the dugout Saturday afternoon, and video footage during the fire shows a combination of parents and coaches trying to smother the flames with dirt.
First Selectman Rudy Maroni said the incident was not a premeditated and that he did not believe it to be an act of vandalism.
“I wasn’t there when it happened but I don’t believe it had anything to do with student vandalism,” Marconi said Monday, April 8.
“It was an attempt to correct something — a wet field, and it just wasn’t a smart move at all,” he added. “... I don’t know who the people are who did this but I hope they come forward before legal action is forced upon them.”
Marconi said that the person, or persons, responsible for lighting the 25 gallons of gas on fire is not a town employee.
“This was a decision that was made right before the game and it was made in order to play the game that day,” he said. “They used gasoline around third base to dry out the field and it worked and that’s when they made the decision to get more gas.”
Bob Alicea, who helped fundraise to build Governor Park, did not respond to several calls and emails from The Press Monday. Athletic Director Dane Street also did not respond when reached for comment.
The Ridgefield Police Department, which is located directly across from Governor Park on East Ridge Road, said its investigation is ongoing and couldn’t confirm whether students were involved in the incident. The police also didn’t want to confirm or deny whether any suspects were town employees.
“The investigation is ongoing and the RPD is attempting to get all of the facts and circumstances of this incident,” Capt. Shawn Platt told The Press Monday. “It would be irresponsible of the Ridgefield Police Department to release any information that is not confirmed as true.”
Platt encouraged anyone from with information to contact Officer Dan Gjodesen at 203-438-6531.
The estimated repair cost for the field is $50,000, Marconi said.
The damaged soil was shipped off the site Monday with new dirt expected to be brought in later this week.
“Our hope is that insurance will cover it,” Marconi said.