CKFES crews responded to a fire at Wallaceburg arena at 11:30 on Saturday morning. (Photo sourced from CK Fire Department Twitter)

Blaze at Wallaceburg arena could affect $40K worth of Lakers’ equipment

A Saturday morning fire at the Wallaceburg Memorial Arena could put the Wallaceburg Lakers in a tough spot financially.

The Jr. C hockey club’s Manager of Hockey Operations Darryl Lucio said it’s believed that upwards of $40,000 worth of equipment was damaged by the incident.

Everything from water bottles to pucks and jerseys is stored at the back of the arena where a blaze started at around 11:30 a.m. on April 27. Chatham-Kent Fire and Emergency Services tweeted from the scene, saying the Ontario Fire Marshal is currently handling the investigation. The investigation has since concluded the fire was accidental but a cause has not been released.

 

Lucio said he arrived on the scene to survey the damage after receiving a text message about the fire on Saturday morning. He saw benches from the room where the fire occurred but has not been inside the building to see the extent of the damage. He is not optimistic about what can be salvaged.

“Obviously when you have a fire in your area, chances are you lost everything,” Lucio said. “Nobody wants to be playing hockey in a jersey covered in soot and smoke you don’t get that smell out.”

What has and has not been affected by the fire is unknown to the team, said Lucio.

Regardless, he said the team does not have insurance to replace what has been lost or damaged in the blaze.

“It’s pretty devastating… we’re pretty upset, it’s sad if it is a total loss — I’m not sure what we’re going to do,” he said. “I’m estimating there’s around $40,000 plus worth of equipment and supplies in there.”

There is a contingency plan in place for the Lakers as they hit the ice for training camp tonight at 9 p.m. at the Thames Campus Arena.

“Thank God I’m the manager and our family has a sports store… I’m going to go in and grab some water bottles and some pucks today,” said Lucio, adding the practice jerseys were already at the store getting prepped for players to wear at the camp and were not impacted by the fire.

Going forward, there is no definitive answer yet on whether the season will be impeded due to the fire.

“I hope it’s hockey as normal but we got to figure out what’s going on first and then go from there,” said Lucio. “I’m anxious to get in there and see how bad it is or how good it is but I don’t think it’s going to be too good.”

The organization will be putting out a statement once more information on the fire is available.