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Fire that destroyed Exeter Township High School's sheds, football equipment suspicious, officials say

By Ryan Hughes, Reporter, RHughes@wfmz.com
Published On: Sep 01 2014 10:30:42 AM CDT
Updated On: Sep 01 2014 04:54:44 PM CDT

A fire that destroyed two sheds containing high school football equipment is being investigated as an arson, officials announced Monday.

EXETER TWP., Pa. -

It was a hard hit off the field for the Exeter Township High School football team after some of their equipment was damaged by fire, which, police said, was intentionally set.

Two sheds near the football field were reduced to ashes, and some vandalism was also found at the high school.

"For them to do this to us is just hard to believe," said Blair Eckel, a freshman at the high school.

Orange fencing outlined the destruction Monday. The fire showed no mercy as flames tore through the sheds, leaving behind a charred frame.

"It was really bright," said Drew Eckel, who first saw the smoke then the flames at Don Thomas Stadium. "It was a substantial fire and I looked down and saw stuff on the field too so they must have thrown stuff on the field."

Eckel graduated this past spring and feared his old team's track equipment was inside, but police said football gear and soccer supplies were torched in the fire.

"There was obviously some people with an agenda on their mind. It was real disappointing," said Joe Strauss, whose kid goes to the high school.

The fire drew an army of firefighters from multiple departments around 11:45 p.m. Saturday. They managed to put it out in minutes, but the damage was done.

Police said they also found vinyl advertising signs sliced and cut around the stadium.

"There's no point to it," said David Eggert, who is a firefighter for the Mount Penn Fire Company and a parent. "It's completely senseless and I don't see where anybody gets any pleasure of doing something like that. It's stupidity squared."

Eggert also runs a concession stand during football games. On Monday, he hauled a number of propane tanks away, fearing his shed could be could go up next.

"It's hard to believe that somebody would want to do that, whether it's somebody from our school or somebody from a different school," said Eckel.    

Police said they are also trying to see if this fire is connected to another fire that leveled a barn on Schoggers Road in Exeter Township on Aug. 16.

If you know anything that can help police investigate this case, call Crime Alert Berks County at 877-373-9913.