The NBA game between the Indiana Pacers and the Toronto Raptors on Saturday took an unexpected turn when a fire broke out in the arena, and the crowd and athletes were forced to evacuate. After seventy anxious minutes, the venue was announced safe, and the game resumed. So what exactly went down?
With 4:05 minutes left of the second quarter, a speaker hanging over the stands caught fire. Immediately, the crowd was told to return home, and the players headed to their locker rooms. The score was 66-38 for the Raptors. Thirty minutes later, a Raptors spokesperson confirmed Toronto Fire Services were looking into the issue, and the game was expected to resume after 40 more minutes. Two workers then controlled the fire while on ropes and harnesses and holding extinguishers.
MLSE and Toronto Raptors statement following event incident at tonight’s game. pic.twitter.com/MrqX0X77Se— Toronto Raptors (@Raptors) March 27, 2022
Due to strict Covid restrictions in Ontario, The Raptors crowds have recently been limited to just a few hundred for the home games. Already during the first quarter of this infamous game, they began removing fans from the stadium, leaving space for the Toronto Fire Services to examine the ceiling. Raptors coach Nick Nurse explained his first impressions. "I was like, 'Jeez, I wonder why they didn't sell those seats tonight?' That was my first thing. Then I saw the firemen standing there." Another section was then cleared, all while the game went on. A YouTube clip soon surfaced online of a speaker in the arena catching fire. Herbie Kuhn then told a booing audience that the game had been suspended.
Pacers acting head coach Lloyd Pierce recalled the incident. "You could definitely smell it. By the time [the game] stopped, the smell was tough. Fifteen years for me, probably the most bizarre situation that we've been in for a game." When the game was finally allowed to pick up where it left off, the crowd was no longer present. Therefore, it was up to the ushers and venue security staff to create the atmosphere needed to warm up the Raptor players. Safe to say, it did the trick, and Toronto won 131-91. Stay tuned for more NBA news.