Little League Fire: Arson or Spontaneous?

A fire at a storage container in John Landes Park on Saturday damaged about $4,000 worth of baseball equipment used by local little league teams, including irreplaceable victory pennants, league officials told North County Times.

The first started at the 40-foot-long storage container in the Oceanside Park about 3:30 p.m. Saturday, while there were hundreds of people around, said John Aguilera, president of the Vista American Little League. Still, nobody reported seeing anything suspicious.

"It's a total shame," he said.

Aguilera said he thinks the fire was intentionally set.

However, a fire captain who responded to the blaze said it appeared to have started spontaneously, since most of the damage was inside the steel structure. The captain, who asked not to be named, said there was no indication that anybody started the fire on purpose.

Whether it was intentional or not, the end result is the same. The league must now replace the damaged equipment, which included, pitching machines, helmets and catchers gear.

The league will never be able to replace the destroyed pennants, which represented wins over the last couple of decades, Aguilera said.

"Pennants are special," he said, "because they're once in a lifetime."

The league has the money to buy the needed equipment before the main season starts in September, but it'll hurt next season's budget, Aguilera said.

Aguilera asked anybody who saw anything suspicious at the park Saturday afternoon to contact the league, 760-724-9801.

The Vista American Little League includes 18 teams made up of children from age 5 to 12 from north Vista, east Oceanside and some unincorporated areas of the county.

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