ST. PETERSBURG (FOX 13) - Cue the metaphors: A grease fire at Tropicana Field interrupted Opening Day preparations Thursday morning. Firefighters in full gear were the only ones walking into the ballpark, leaving some players wondering where to go.
The smoky scene played out just after 11 a.m. Fire alarms were triggered by what was later explained as a fire in a food concession stand outside of section 308. The stand’s automatic fire suppression system caught the flames before things got out of hand, Rays team president Brian Auld said.
“The fire was controlled pretty much immediately but obviously created a lot of smoke,” he offered.
“Smells like burning rubber,” FOX 13’s Kevin O’Donnell tweeted from inside the stadium.
Firefighters arrived at the Trop and headed inside. Players, personnel, and others were held outside until the all-clear was given. FOX 13’s Scott Smith said former Rays star David Price – and current member of the Red Sox rotation – was among those caught up in the delay.
No fans were inside yet; gates for the home opener didn’t open until 2 p.m. They Rays insisted there would be no impact on the 4 p.m. matchup with the Orioles.
“We want to let all fans know that it will be a safe, secure, similar environment to what they were expecting as they come out to the ballpark,” added Auld.