Community in shock after press box fire at McLaurin High School

FLORENCE, Miss. (WJTV) – A fire breaks out on the McLaurin High School football field and the press box goes up in flames.

The community is in shock and nervous about the future of their season.

Video was given to us from parent and PTSO member, Melanie Little, after the school’s press box went up in flames.

“It went up quick. It was a little wooden box. You can imagine with the heat we’ve had and the dry spout, it was gone quick,” said Little.

Little says Star Youth Association had just wrapped up a youth football game and powered everything down when smoke started coming from the box.

“Shock and awe in the faces of every parent. People started showing up after we got there. We love McLaurin, we love our community. It’s the best thing that ever happened in Rankin County and it was just shocking,” said Little.

“It’s devastating you know. I went to high school here. My husband went to school here, everybody in the community. The press box, this football field, holds a lot of memories for a lot of people,” said Robbie Delancy, a McLaurin H.S. Alumni.

Little is also a graduate of McLaurin. She says the same press box was there during her high school years; it was in need of some upgrades.

“Some of the coaches from the other teams won’t come over and get in our press box. Not because it was faulty but it was just an older press box,” said Delancy.

School board member David Dyess says the press box is a total loss after the fire.

The football team does not have a home game this upcoming Friday, which will allow school officials to figure out their plan before the next time the tigers hit the field.

“We’re making plans to check the structural damage that may have been done to the bleachers and we’ll go from there and replace what we need to replace,” said David Dyess, a school board member with Rankin County School District.

But some are nervous there won’t be a solution before the end of football season.

“Our two last games are home games. We miss that now. We’re going to miss, our kids are going to miss so much not being able to play on their field their last game. It breaks my heart.”

Some members of the community say they are willing to help replace the press box.

We reached out to the Rankin County School District but they have not yet released a statement on the fire.

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