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$50K Torched Baseball Field Incident Leads To Suspensions Of Three Ridgefield HS Coaches

Three coaches in Ridgefield have been suspended after attempting to dry a field by lighting it on fire. Photo Credit: @AmityNorton via Twitter
Governor Park in Ridgefield. Photo Credit: File

Three varsity baseball coaches at Ridgefield High School have been placed on administrative leave after extreme measures were taken to try and squeeze in a high school baseball game.

The field at Governor Park was doused with gasoline and set on fire over the weekend in an effort to dry out a playing surface that had been rained on in advance of Ridgefield’s scheduled game against Amity.

The idea did more harm than good.

In total, reparations are expected to cost upwards of $50,000. No one was injured and there was never anyone in danger, police said. The incident remains under investigation, and no one has come forward to accept responsibility.

According to the Ridgefield Police Department, on Saturday, April 6, “a poor decision was made to dry the field quicker" and 24 gallons of gasoline were poured on the playing surface and set on fire. The Ridgefield Fire Department and DEEP were contacted due to the fire and environmental hazards posed from the gasoline being used.

In response to the incident, school officials suspended the three coaches and noted that no students were involved in the fiery situation. It is unclear if the coaches were directly involved, though they were placed on leave “out of an abundance of caution.”

In a letter to parents, Schools Superintendent William Collins said, “at this point, we do not believe the coaching staff was directly involved, however, out of an abundance of caution, the three varsity coaches have been placed on administrative leave pending the conclusion of the police investigation.”

Law enforcement and fire crews were notified of the incident at approximately 12:30 p.m. on Saturday, which has since made international headlines, with a video posted on Twitter going viral.

Following the incident, the plan is to excavate the field, place the dirt in a safe container, add fresh and clean soil to the field, which is expected to reopen in within the next week as they test the contaminated soil and playing surface.

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