An electrical fire at Camden Yards on the day the Orioles played “Sunday Night Baseball” disrupted the complex’s cooling system – Twin Cities

Before there were bees, there was fire.

A month before a swarm of honeybees in the Oriole Park outfield interrupted play on August 27, an electrical fire broke out in the Camden Yards complex’s cooling system around 2 p.m. on July 30, five hours before the red-hot Orioles’ home game against the New York Yankees on ESPN “Sunday Night Baseball.”

The fire damaged one of the complex’s three cooling systems – the machines that cool the baseball stadium and M&T Bank Stadium. Another of the three coolers had a mechanical problem that was likely related to the fire, said Jeff Provenzano, vice president of facilities for the Maryland Stadium Authority.

“Within an hour, we lost two-thirds of the capacity of the facility to cool the complex,” Provenzano told the authority’s board on Tuesday. “Not a good time. Not a good time.”

Electrical fires can occur due to faulty electrical systems or improper wiring installations, among other things, and Provenzano said it is unknown what caused the incident. The fire, which was so small that it did not trigger an alarm, was noticed by an employee. It was contained to the refrigeration plant and no one was injured, Provenzano said.

Craig Thompson, chairman of the stadium authority, described the situation as a “crisis averted”.

“Jeff and his team averted quite a catastrophe by acting quickly,” said John Samoryk, the Stadium Authority’s vice president of procurement.

In an emergency, Oriole Park can operate with just one chiller, so there wasn’t a dire situation on the night of July 30, especially since it wasn’t an unbearably hot evening. Had it happened a few days earlier or this week when temperatures reached 37 degrees, it would have been a bigger problem.

The stadium authority tried to quickly introduce temporary cooling equipment, which was no easy task in late July, Provenzano said. A cooler was scheduled to be delivered to South Dakota before the stadium administration rented it.

“We were blessed over the next four or five days as we waited for the temporary cooling,” Provenzano said of this week’s temperatures. “If things had been the way they are now, we would be having a different conversation.”

After Sunday night’s game, the Orioles played a series in Toronto and returned for a set against the New York Mets beginning August 4. That morning, the stadium authority began using a temporary cooler to supplement the remaining working cooler. Two weeks later, they rented another temporary unit.

Provenzano said they had to “get creative” to keep the facilities cool. For example, they air-conditioned some parts of the complex to 72 degrees while other areas were warmer.

The only hiccup occurred during the Ravens’ preseason game on August 12, a day with a high of 93 degrees. There was a “minor malfunction” with the temporary chiller.

“Everyone mobilized, but we were challenged,” Provenzano said. “If you had been at the game, you could have been in an area that could have been a little, I don’t want to say, warmer. I would just say, not as cool as you would like.”

By the end of August, the stadium administration had paid for the repair of the two damaged refrigeration machines. Cooling issues are not expected to occur Sunday afternoon as M&T Bank Stadium hosts the Ravens’ season opener against the Houston Texans.

“The facility is now fully functional,” said Provenzano.

It was the plant’s oldest radiator, installed during Oriole Park’s opening year in 1992, that caught fire. Provenzano said there had been no “indications that an immediate replacement was needed.” Soon, however, the stadium authority may consider upgrading the machines, he said.

The roughly 2,000 bees at Oriole Park were relocated last week by a stadium authority employee who works as a beekeeper.

() An electrical fire at Camden Yards on the day the Orioles played “Sunday Night Baseball” disrupted the complex’s cooling system – Twin Cities

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