A Saturday night fire at the Laurel High School fieldhouse left the inside of the building with significant damage, but the most significant items were saved. A call from central dispatch led to the Laurel Fire Department discovering smoke coming from the fieldhouse upon arrival. 

Officials from Laurel High School arrived at the scene right after the firefighters. One of their main concerns was the school’s memorabilia room, where irreplaceable items from the program’s history – including the original and current Lil’ Brown Jug – are kept. The room suffered no significant damage Laurel head football coach Ryan Earnest said, but was his main concern as he received the news of the fire. 

“We are very appreciative of the swift response from the Laurel Fire Department,” Earnest said. “My initial thoughts were just hoping that the memorabilia room where we keep our state championship trophies and the Jug were safe. There are decades of history in that room, and we are fortunate to have it unscathed. 

“Thank God for the Laurel Fire Department. It is scary when something like this happens, but we are grateful no one is injured and that our historical items are safe. We are just grateful for the great public services like our fire department. They did an outstanding job of responding and helping save our fieldhouse.” 

The fire was extinguished in about 45 minutes, Laurel Fire Chief Leo Brown said. The department continued to battle hot spots trapped in the ceiling and inside of the building throughout the night and into the early morning hours. The preliminary cause of the fire appeared to be from the central air conditioning unit, but further investigation is still ongoing. No foul play is suspected. 

“Around 8:45 p.m., we received a call that there was smoke coming from the Laurel field house,” Brown said. “We dispatched fire engines 1, 2 and 5. When they arrived on the scene, heavy smoke was exiting the building. They gained entrance and discovered there was heavy fire and heat in the equipment room in the center of the building. 

“Firefighters extinguished the fire quickly. One room sustained heavy fire damage. The adjoining rooms sustained significant smoke damage. One of the equipment rooms and 

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