Fire destroys football gear at Archbishop Wood High School

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Fire destroys football gear at Archbishop Wood High School. Walter Perez reports during Action News at 4:30pm on July 16, 2018. (WPVI)

What seemed like nothing but a small, smoky fire inside Archbishop Wood High School in Warminster, Pa. last Tuesday ended up becoming a serious preseason setback for the football program.

It turns out, the fire went up inside the program's storage facility, and by the time it was over all of the football team's equipment was destroyed.

Helmets, shoulder pads, game pants, practice jerseys... everything.

We spoke with some of the players' parents who say the news was heartbreaking.

"It's sad for the kids, you know, they're all working really hard and this kind of hit them out of the blue," said Steve Cantwell.

"It was not something that anyone could have anticipated, and we were just a few weeks away from giving out the equipment as is normal protocol," said Maureen Murt.

Archbishop Wood has one of the premier football programs in Pennsylvania, winning five state titles over the past seven years.

The expectation is that they will have new equipment in time for the start of the regular season, but they were already forced to drop out of a scheduled seven-on-seven scrimmage in which helmets are required.

This also comes just a few months after long-time head coach Steve Devlin resigned to become the defensive coordinator at Ursinus College.
Regardless, some of the players say the plan, to win three state titles in a row for the first time in school history, remains unchanged.

"We're just going to do everything we can right now, and that's all we can do. That's all we can control right now," said quarterback Jack Colyer.

"We want to win those first four games. Sure, they are tough games. We want to beat Prep and LaSalle and we want to be first team to three-peat. That's our goal," said senior Connor Bishop.

Investigators say it appears faulty wiring may be to blame for the fire. Foul play is not suspected.

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