Youth football league has equipment damaged by fire

June 21, 2010 12:00:00 AM PDT
Fire has put the season for a youth football league in jeopardy after a fire destroyed most of their equipment and then things got even worse when thieves took what was left.

On Monday, football organizers cleaned out the burned storage locker, removing what has become mostly debris. The fire has been a huge blow to the Livermore Youth Football League and cheer.

"We have essentially two weeks and then we were going to start handing out equipment to kids. Now we don't have the equipment to hands out to kids," says coach Paul White.

Someone set a sofa propped up against the shed on fire. It heated up the metal, causing the equipment inside to smolder. When they opened the door, the air ignited the fire and pads, pants and more burst into flame.

The stench was still overwhelming and the walls of the storage locker were charred. The important thing is the equipment, but it was burned, suffered water damage and is unusable.

To add insult, equipment was left out overnight to dry, but the next morning they discovered much of it had been stolen.

"A lot of stuff was taken. A lot of the footballs that the kids used, a lot of the jerseys and some things that made no sense, they went though some of our medical bags," says athletic director Eric Wexelman.

"To have something like this happen that actually endangers the boys' ability to be out there and participate, yeah it was extremely upsetting," says youth football president Brett Hart.

Riddell, their prime supplier, is taking some items to clean. Parents are determined their sons will get to play. They held a meeting Monday night to figure out how to raise $30,000 for uniforms and more money for equipment. They say the game is too important in their children's lives.

"It brings them self confidence and makes them better, well-rounded people. It's just a wonderful sport and it's too bad something like this had to happen," says parent Scott Brooking.

They say there is a lot of support in Livermore for the 175 kids in the football league. They just can't be denied.

"The will absolutely will be a season," says Hart.

"I'm really encouraged. I know we'll have a season, I have no doubt at all," says football player Chandler Davis.

If you would like to help donate money or equipment, click on the link above.


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