rogers park pavilion fire

A Goshen firefighter walks near the Rogers Park Pavilion Wednesday night as fire breaks through the roof. Goshen firefighters are offering a $5,000 reward for information about how the fire started.

Fire officials are seeking the public’s help in determining the cause of a blaze Wednesday night that damaged the Rogers Park pavilion.

The fire was reported about 10:29 p.m. Wednesday and caused about $40,000 in damage, but while that might not sound like a lot, much of the roof structure appears to be ruined.

City officials are unsure whether the building can be salvaged.

“The rafters are pretty charred and the metal roof is all buckled and I don’t think that can be saved,” said Sheri Howland, parks superintendent.

An insurance representative was at the scene Thursday to assess the damage and Howland said the park department will seek advice on whether the pavilion can be repaired.

Much of the fire remained under the roof.

“The entire structure was on fire when we arrived,” said James Ramer, assistant chief of operations for the fire department. There was a lot of fire there.”

Ramer said the fire was extinguished within five minutes, and firefighters then worked for another 20 minutes chasing down hot spots in the crevices of the roof.

The fire department issued a press release Thursday seeking the public’s help and offering a $5,000 reward for information.

Ramer declined to classify the fire’s cause as suspicious.

A press release issued by the department said anyone with information can call either the fire department at 574 875-4315 or the arson hotline at 1-800 382-4628.

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