Youth football equipment damaged after Hartford arson - WFSB 3 Connecticut

Youth football equipment damaged after Hartford arson

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A shed for Hartford Hurricanes caught on fire at Keney Park on Thursday.(WFSB) A shed for Hartford Hurricanes caught on fire at Keney Park on Thursday.(WFSB)

A football league for Hartford’s children finds themselves the victims of an arson.

Their shed was found in flames at Keney Park in the middle of the day on Thursday and now, alleged arsonist is behind bars.

The fire started on the outside of this 12-foot metal container at Keney Park. Authorities said it grew so big, it reached the top. But the fire got so hot, it damaged everything inside the shed. 

Hartford Hurricanes President Phil Bryant said eight years’ worth of equipment trashed in a matter of minutes. 

“We lost blocking dummies, shoulder pads, helmets,” Bryant said. “We lost all the cheerleading uniforms.”

An arsonist destroying tens of thousands of dollars’ worth of Hartford Hurricanes football equipment. Fire officials said someone for the Hartford Department of Public Works noticed the flames bursting around this storage container and by the time it was extinguished, everything was a loss.

“The amount of heat and smoke that happened because of the fire, completely ruined and damaged everything,” Bryant said.

Police have tracked down the suspect, but aren't releasing his identity.  Bryant said he is forced to pick up the charred pieces.

 “Most people in Hartford know what it is that we do in this park and who we do it for,” Bryant said. “So you're not really targeting any adult when you commit an act like this, you are 100% targeting the youth.”

On Friday, Bryant said he has the tough task of informing the youth, the 200 plus 5-15-year-olds who play on the various teams that they won't be able to replace equipment and some of the usual drills will need to be postponed. 

“Recouping all this will take probably four or five years to replenish what we lost today,” Bryant said.

Nathaniel Torres, who has played for the Hurricanes since he was 7 years old, is trying to take it in stride. But, he'll never understand why someone would intentionally harm an organization that does so much good. 

“We're just going to have to grind through and just follow our coaches’ orders and do our best,” Torres said.

Officials said the annual donation drive won't be able to cover this all at once and it could take years before the team is back to where it was on Thursday. If you'd like to donate, click here

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