Historic ballpark, football stadium catches fire


Photo of Dominic Genetti

RFK Stadium in Washington, D.C., circa 1969. (Photo by Nate Fine/Getty Images)

RFK Stadium in Washington, D.C., circa 1969. (Photo by Nate Fine/Getty Images)

Nate Fine/NFL

Washington, D.C. firefighters had to make their way inside old RFK Stadium Tuesday, July 5, when it was discovered the structure had black smoke coming from it. Fire officials said several different fires were in progress upon their arrival. 

The historic stadium, which was the home of two Major League Baseball teams, an NFL franchise, Major League Soccer club and several notable events, was billowing smoke at the stadium’s Gate C entrance, according to WTTG Fox 5, at about 5:30 p.m. Eastern. The D.C. Fire and EMS said no one was injured. How the fires began is also unknown.

Video posted on Twitter shows black smoke coming out of what was once the first base dugout.

Events DC which controls the facility released a statement clarifying the demolition process of the 60-year-old concrete donut. 

RFK Stadium hasn’t been in use as a sports facility since 2017 and has mainly been abandoned for nearly the last five years.

D.C. United of the MLS was the last team to call the stadium home. It was the longtime home of the NFL’s Washington Commanders franchise, and home to both the expansion-Washington Senators and the Washington Nationals of MLB.

The stadium was the first of what’s called cookie-cutter stadiums. Multipurpose stadiums are built to host baseball and football with a circular or square design and movable seats to accommodate each sport. Baseball and football teams followed suit in Atlanta, St. Louis, San Diego, Cincinnati, Philadelphia and Pittsburgh.

RFK Stadium was named for Senator Robert F. Kennedy following his assassination by Sirhan Sirhan in 1968. The MLB All-Star Game was hosted here in 1962 and 1969, as well as the MLS All-Star Game in 2004.


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