For the youth players and team volunteers, this fire is devastating. One player was able to salvage only a glove. Now, with a suspect in custody, and the league out thousands of dollars, the young players are wondering, what happens next.
"I woke up my son this morning. I said, 'Carson, I've got to go. The building burned down.' He was in tears," recalled Curtis Cooper with the Cy-Fair Sports Association.
After school, the fourth grader saw the damage for himself.
"I've been playing out here ever since I first started," said baseball player Carson Cooper. "It's kind of devastating."
The Cy-Fair Sports Association youth baseball league storage garage was gutted by a fire. The blaze broke out just before 5pm Friday. A cell phone photo captured the flames.
Carson said, "After I saw a picture of it still flaming, I don't know why anyone would even do this."
Doug Becker with the Cy-Fair Sports Association said, "We probably had about $20,000 worth of baseball equipment. It's gone."
The charred equipment inside was once used to help maintain nine baseball fields used by more than 2,500 kids.
Curtis said, "We keep our extra bases, our striping material, we also keep our pallets of field materials which go on our field."
"I'm thinking, who would do something like this and why," Carson wondered.
The fire marshal has determined that the fire was not an accident and is investigating further. The Harris County Sheriff's Office confirms it has a suspect, Jalen Mays, 19, in custody. Investigators say Mays, who was intoxicated, was seen walking away from the building at the time of the fire.
"This person has taken away kids' ability to come out and play baseball," Curtis said.
With their equipment in ashes and their store garage destroyed, the Cy-Fair Sports Association is forced to temporarily turn kids away from their baseball field.
"I knew that I had baseball practice tonight and now it's closed, so I'm really sad," Carson said.
No word yet on charges the suspect may face.
The non-profit baseball league's first practice of the season has been canceled.
Officials with the sports league say there was no insurance on the building. CFSA is soliciting donations of money, time or resources to help remove the damaged building, rebuild it, and replace the lost equipment for the complex.
The Cy-Fair Sports Association is a 100 percent volunteer driven, non-profit association that promotes youth athletics in northwest Houston. Donations can be accepted at 281-970-8080 or sent care of CFSA Baseball to: PO Box 841751 Houston, Texas, 77284-1751. For further information, please email email@example.com.