By Courtney Dentch
A large metal container where the Rosedale Rockets soccer league stored its gear caught fire June 6 when flames spread from a car blaze at the teams' Idlewild Park field, said league President Michael Duncan.
“We lost two small goals, the pump and lines for the sprinkler, three lawn mowers, striping machines to paint the field lines,” he said. “We lost $1,500 in new paints for the lines because we just got a new order in.”
Sanders presented the league with a $5,000 check Tuesday to help recoup the losses, but he, Duncan and the other league leaders are hoping the community will help them as well, the councilman said.
“We are calling on the community to respond to this moment of crisis,” Sanders said. “A car has driven in here, smashes into your facility and burns most everything down. We started the ball rolling. The community should work with you.”
Sanders set a fund-raising goal of $20,000 for the league, which has 300 players in 12 intramural teams and four travel teams. The travel teams compete in the Long Island Soccer League, Duncan said.
Duncan believes that someone drove a car through the fence of the field, on 149th Avenue between 230th Avenue and 230th Place sometime in the evening of June 6 or the early morning of June 7, he said. It appears they parked the car – a BMW, Duncan thinks – behind the metal storage container, stripped the car for parts before setting it alight, he said.
The blaze spread to the container and engulfed the equipment inside, Duncan said.
Neither the 105th Police Precinct nor the Fire Department had information on the incident.
Despite the lack of equipment, the league is trying to push ahead and finish its season, which has just one week left, Duncan said.
“We have practice tomorrow, but we are limited to what we can do with just our feet and a ball,” he said Tuesday. “We won't have the goals or the cones or anything to hold a real practice.”
Duncan hopes that the community and local businesses will help them make up for what they lost in the blaze. They also still need to clear away the metal skeleton of the container and all the debris. The Parks Department hauled out the car but not the remains of the league's property, Duncan said.
“They haven't even considered helping us to remove this,” he said. “We'll have to come on a weekend and do it ourselves. They moved the car and that was it.”
But the players in the league just want to get back to soccer, Duncan said.
“The children just really want to play. Some were scared by it, some were excited to check it out. Most of them just wanted to practice.”
The Rosedale Rockets can be reached at 718-276-2528, or at P.O. Box 0158, Rosedale, N.Y. 11422.
Reach reporter Courtney Dentch by e-mail at email@example.com, or by phone at 718-229-0300, Ext. 138.