First selectman: Repairs to Ridgefield ballfield set on fire could cost more than $50K

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RIDGEFIELD -

Ridgefield has begun the expensive cleanup process for its baseball field that was doused with gasoline and lit on fire in an attempt to dry out the infield.

It happened Saturday when the high school baseball team was supposed to host Amity. Officials say the field was soggy when the two teams showed up to play, so someone dumped 25 to 30 gallons of gasoline on it, then lit it on fire to try and dry out the base path.

At one point, the flames grew, causing one person to run to the police department and another to contact the fire department. Workers from the Department of Energy and Environmental Protection also responded.

"It was absorbed by the clay, which is very dense," says First Selectman Rudy Marconi. "The top portion did burn off, there were substantial flames, maybe 12 to 15 feet high at some point."

MORE: Baseball field set on fire by person during rain delay 

Marconi says he has no idea why someone thought it was a good idea but that they didn't think of the environmental impact.

"I can't believe no one immediately put a stop to it," says Marconi. "That's I think the message that we need to get out to people. When you see something as blatant as this, don't be afraid to say no. This was a perfect opportunity for someone to have acted, rather than just videoing and putting it on Facebook."

Six inches of gas-soaked soil were dug up from the infield over the weekend and several containers of contaminated dirt were transported from there Monday.

The town is hoping to put in new soil sometime this week. Marconi estimates it could cost more than $50,000 to repair the field.

No teams will be playing there for at least the next week due to this incident, which is now under investigation by police. Marconi says it'll be up to the police department if any charges will be filed.

Marconi says he hopes to get the field filled back in with new dirt sometime this week.

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