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Brooklyn High School stadium sustains massive damage in fire

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BROOKLYN, Ohio - Damage is expected to reach into the hundreds of thousands of dollars after an overnight fire sped through Brooklyn High School's stadium.

The fire was reported shortly after midnight when a school neighbor called in saying that they smelled smoke.

"We saw the smoke and wasn't sure if it was like just a steam issue or if it was an actual fire," said parent Stan Witowski, who lives across the street from the stadium.

When fire crews arrived, the entire underside of the grandstands as well as nearby locker rooms, concessions and storage areas were engulfed in flames. There was considerable structural damage to the stands, which aren't able to be used in any way until an engineer can assess their status.

The fire was put out within an hour.

"It has a considerable amount on the inside, it twisted some steel beams," said Brooklyn Fire Chief Joseph Zemek.  "It was appraised at $4 million, the structure, and I'm looking at well into the six figures, probably a couple million with contents and the structure itself."

The school district said the damaged stadium is used for football, soccer as well as track and field.  They say it is unclear how long it will take to be repaired.

"We found out that there was a fairly significant fire, that was in the home side of the football field, underneath the stands, affecting both the home and visitors side areas of the stands," said Todd Hopkins, school district treasurer.

The fire department declined to speculate on a cause, but Ohio ATF investigators and a local emergency response team are investigating the fire.

Brooklyn High School