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One firefighter hurt in fire at U of I’s Memorial Stadium; damaged believed minmal.

Firefighters rolling up hoses outside of Memorial Stadium

CHAMPAIGN –  One firefighter was injured during a two-alarm fire at the University of Illinois’ Memorial Stadium Tuesday evening. But university officials say damage to the stadium itself was minimal.

The Champaign Fire Department says firefighters responded to an automatic fire alarm at the stadium shortly before 8 P.M.  On arrival, crews reported heavy smoke coming from the south, or Kirby Avenue end of the facility.  

The fire was located in the stadium’s maintenance area, among some grounds keeping equipment stored there.  Fire Department spokesman Randy Smith says the fire caused “a lot of smoke”, due to burning plastic and fiberglass in the equipment. But the fire was quickly extinguished, with the fire reported out about half-an-hour after it was first reported. 

One firefighter who suffered minor injuries during the fire was treated on scene and taken to an area hospital.

Fire officials say the cause of the fire has not been determined. Investigators remained on the scene Tuesday night. 

The fire comes just days before the century-old Memorial Stadium is to host a football game between Illinois and Nebraska on Friday night.

According to a statement from the U of I’s Division of Intercollegiate Athletics, “Early indications are positive that the stadium will be prepared to host the game, as scheduled and without interruption of seating or services”.

(Story updated, to show new details from Champaign Fire Dept. – JM 10/3/23 11:05 PM)

Picture of Jim Meadows

Jim Meadows

Jim Meadows has been covering local news for WILL Radio since 2000, with occasional periods as local host for Morning Edition and All Things Considered and a stint hosting WILL's old Focus talk show. He was previously a reporter at public radio station WCBU in Peoria.

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