LAWRENCE — The fire alarm system wasn't working, but surveillance cameras were rolling this weekend when three youths allegedly broke into a concession stand and set it on fire at Veterans Memorial Stadium.
Fire Inspector Pat Ruiz now is working with police to identify the three kids involved and press criminal charges against them.
The fire was reported at 9:41 a.m. Sunday after a stadium maintenance worker discovered fire damage in one of the concession stands in the stadium, which is located off Winthrop Avenue (Route 114).
A fire alarm system in the stadium was not working, so firefighters were not alerted when the fire started. After causing roughly $5,000 in damage, the fire self-extinguished, Deputy Fire Chief Brian Murphy said.
Video surveillance cameras, which are maintained by the city's Public Works Department, did capture the images of three youths prying open the 20-by-20-foot concession stand and setting a fire, Ruiz said.
Ruiz, a Fire Department investigator, is now working with the Lawrence Police Department to identify the three youths involved. All three are facing charges of breaking and entering and burning a dwelling, he said.
The three boys appear to be between 13 to 15 years old, he said.
He said the fire was set using an "open flame." In the video, you can see the fire spreading from napkins and plastic cutlery and plates.
"Everything was just black ... Everything is just a total loss," Ruiz said of the condition of the concession stand after the fire.
A popcorn maker, hot dog machine and other equipment belonging to vendor Robert Costello of Lawrence was stored in the stand. Ruiz said Costello is compiling a detailed list of equipment damaged in the fire.
The concession stand fire revealed a larger problem at the stadium; the fire alarm system was not working properly. A city employee was posted around the clock on Sunday and Monday while the system was repaired.
As of yesterday, Ruiz said the fire alarm system at the stadium was working properly.
Follow staff reporter Jill Harmacinski on Twitter @EagleTribJill.