24 gallons of gas poured, set ablaze in attempt to dry wet baseball field

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Tuesday, April 9, 2019
24 gallons of gas poured, set ablaze in attempt to dry wet ball field
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24 gallons of gas poured, set ablaze in attempt to dry wet ball field: karen Rogers reports on Action News at 5 a.m., April 9, 2019

RIDGEFIELD, Conn. (WPVI) -- A Connecticut baseball field is expected to be closed for several weeks after it was doused in gasoline and set on fire, part of an apparent attempt to dry off the field.

It happened at Governor Park in Ridgefield Saturday morning, ahead of a regularly scheduled Ridgefield High School game that had to be postponed.

Town officials posted about the incident on Facebook, calling it a "poor decision."

"A RHS baseball game at Governor Park was delayed due to weather conditions on the field this morning," the post read. "A poor decision was made (and being looked into by the RPD) to 'dry the field quicker' and 24 gallons of gasoline was poured and set on fire."

"We were warming up," starting third baseman Thomas Gioffre said. "A decision was made, and it didn't go as planned, I guess...(The hope was) to dry up the field so we could play."

The Ridgefield Fire Department, the director of Public Works, the Department of Energy and Environmental Protection and the Certified Spill Response Team all responded to the scene.

No one was injured in the fire, and there is no danger to the public.

Town officials estimate it will cost about $50,000 to excavate the infield, test the surface and bring in clean, fresh soil. Ridgefield taxpayers can only shake their heads.

"There would be no way I would even comprehend that to be true at all or even thought of," resident Tom Scalzo said. "

The Ridgefield High School baseball is off to a fantastic 4-0 start to the season, but whatever home field advantage the team enjoyed is now temporarily on hold.

The police investigation is ongoing, and charges are possible.

"It depends on the circumstances that we're still investigating," said Shawn Platt, with the Ridgefield Police Department. "It depends on what exactly occurred, how it occurred, if anybody was instructed or took it upon themselves to do that."