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Dayton Daily News (Ohio)
MONROE TWP. - The sign on the press box at Johnstown High School's Frank H. Chambers Stadium reads "One Team, One Heartbeat."
Passersby could still make out the slogan Monday on the front of the charred remains of the football field press box, a day after an early morning blaze destroyed locker rooms, a concession stand and other parts of the longtime athletics facility.
State and local investigators were on site Monday morning, working to determine what caused the fire that destroyed "that little building [that] meant a lot to this community," said Johnstown-Monroe School District Superintendent Dale Dickson.
"It's just a very sad loss for us," he added. "...Our hearts are broken, but we're going to shake it off. We're going to move forward."
Monroe Township Fire Chief Dudley Wright said crews from Monroe, Plain, St. Albans, Granville and Harlem townships responded after 3 a.m. Sunday to the fire call at 401 S. Oregon St.
The football field is located behind Johnstown High and is shielded from view by the school. The athletics building there was engulfed in flames when firefighters arrived, Dudley said.
The fire appears to have started in an attic space, and arson is not suspected as the cause, though an investigation continued Monday afternoon, said Kelly Stincer, spokeswoman for the state fire marshal's office.
The Johnstown-Monroe football team played its final home game at the stadium in early November, shutting out Oak Hill in a first-round playoff game. Dickson said the building was shut down for the winter afterward.
Kristi Chumney, athletics director and dean of students, said spring sports at the field, namely Johnstown High's track and field and lacrosse teams, don't have competitions scheduled until March or April.
The structures that were destroyed were built in the 1970s, Dickson said.
The Johnstown-Monroe school board had a regularly scheduled meeting Monday night, but Dickson said the district would wait for the fire investigation and insurance company review to be completed before determining how to move forward.
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