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Arson fire destroys youth sports program's equipment

Dundalk athletes lose storage & concessions building
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Posted at 12:47 PM, Sep 22, 2019
and last updated 2019-09-22 23:18:53-04

DUNDALK, Md. (WMAR) — Staring at the burnt-out shell of a building, no one could understand why an arsonist would take away what little the Dundalk Dynasty youth football program had.

"Kids that come out here instead of running the streets. It's heartbreaking. It's really just a sad day," said Christina Rossi.

For the record, police will only say someone intentionally set the fire and little more.

Parks and Recreation employees reported a pair of teens making threats as they were asked to leave when the park closed on Saturday night, but there's been no arrests.

The fledgling league for young football players and cheerleaders, ranging in age from four to fourteen, is now assessing its losses.

"We lost a refrigerator, a microwave, a couple of Crockpots. We had extra bags in there for the kids. We had game uniforms. We had helmets," said Coach Steve Zaras.

And all of the food and drinks used to raise money through the team's concession stand, which represented far more than a snack for some of the children.

"This is how some kids eat dinner,” said Zaras, “They walk up to me at the end of practice and say, 'Coach Steve, can I get a bag of chips? Can I get a walking taco? Can I get something to drink? I can't just turn these kids away and say, 'No.' I'm not worried about the dollars. I'm worried about them. This is why we're here."

Less than 24 hours after the building burned, the bulk of the Dundalk Dynasty children, their parents and volunteers returned to Merritt Park collecting donations and doing what they do best---having fun out on the field, and the community is rallying around them.

"We contacted Home Depot... the local Home Depot. They stepped up to the plate and are going to donate building materials,” said Carl Magee, Jr., “The local Weis Markets. Guys, kudos! They stepped up to the plate and donating food and some drinks, and like I said, it's been overwhelming."

Other football programs from North Harford and Hereford to Stembridge and Middle River have also offered to help, along with more than 60 donors so far on a newly-created GoFundMe page that's collected more than $3,000 so far.

If you wish to donate, you can access the team's GoFundMe page here under the heading "Dundalkstrong".