Florida releases equipment damage report from weekend truck fire
The extent of the damage to Florida equipment following a fire on the way back from Mississippi State appears worse than originally thought.
Members of the equipment staff have had a long week, especially on Monday when they scrambled to restore and re-order lost or damaged equipment in the truck fire that was caused by a flat tire.
Jerseys and pants were on the charter plane with the team so they can be washed as soon as the team returns from road games. But the rest of the gear was in a semitrailer and it sustained heavy damage to helmets, shoulder pads, protective braces, the training staff’s medical gear, coolers, cleats, staff bags and travel clothes.
The damage was detailed in a report by Scott Carter on FloridaGators.com.
Equipment manager Jeff McGrew said about 30 helmets were burned to a crisp and all of them suffered damage to some degree, whether from smoke or the process of putting out the fire. A significant number of shoulder pads, knee braces, cleats and other items were also burned badly.
The helmets and shoulder pads for all 70 players who made the trip must be replaced. McGrew said he spent Monday speaking with representatives from equipment manufacturers such as Riddell, Schutt and other vendors to expedite orders. The team had enough equipment in inventory to practice as usual heading into Saturday’s game against LSU.
“Just about everything got affected in one way or the other,” McGrew said. “Heat affects the plastic in the shell and those types of things.”
The truck driver had a fire extinguisher and saved some cases off the truck loaded with cameras and other electronic equipment.
The University Athletic Association and All My Sons, the moving company that transports the equipment, continue to work out insurance details. The estimated damages are expected to be well into six-figures.
Fortunately for the Gators, they already had plans to unveil a new Jordan Brand cleat for the LSU game.