CHAMPAIGN, Ill. — A fire broke out at the University of Illinois’ football stadium on Tuesday night just three days before the venue is scheduled to host a game.
But the good news is that the contest against Nebraska will go on as scheduled on Friday.
A third-party structural engineering firm cleared the stadium to host the game after the fire that occurred in the southwest corner of the stadium underneath the “horseshoe.”
Discovered around 8 p.m. Tuesday, heavy smoke was showing from that part of the stadium, and while the fire was upgraded to a second alarm, it was quickly put out. One firefighter was sent to an area hospital and treated for minor injuries.
The cause of the fire is still not known.
Even after the fire, the school’s Division of Intercollegiate Athletics was still confident that they’d be able to host that contest despite the fire.
“DIA will continue to evaluate the facility over the course of the next day, but early indications re positive that the stadium will be prepared to host the game, as scheduled and without interruption of seating or services, for the game on Friday,” said the DIA in a release late Tuesday evening.
Memorial Stadium is celebrating its 100th year of hosting Illini football games, having done so for the first time in 1923 before its official dedication in 1924. The stadium underwent a major renovation in 2007 and 2008 that put a permanent seating structure in the north end zone.