A fire broke out at Tony Zupo Field shortly before 5 p.m. Sunday. It quickly overtook the grandstand, press box and some of the bleachers before Lodi Fire arrived at the scene. 

"They saw it from Station 1 -- they saw the flames," said Jeff Hood, director of Lodi Parks, Recreation and Cultural Services. 

News-Sentinel Editor Scott Howell, who was at the nearby Grape Bowl for a soccer game, said the flames had climbed an embankment between Zupo Field and the Grape Bowl. 

"They actually stopped the soccer game," Howell said. Game officials had everyone move to the north end of the field for safety.

The Lodi Fire Department quickly extinguished the fire once they were on scene, Howell said, but the bleachers and grandstand appeared to have been completely destroyed.

The wooden structure burned quickly, Hood said. The heat of the flames also damaged the metal framework.

"Essentially, the entire bleachers area is destroyed," he said.

The city will have more information about when and how they will rebuild the stadium in the coming days, he said, but there are several factors to consider -- not just the cost, but also investigations by Lodi police and the fire marshal.

The fire marshal will also have to determine whether it is safe to access the field.

Luckily, the playing season has ended for the year. Lodi and Tokay high school teams use the field, along with other local baseball teams.

The high school teams can use Kofu Park in a pinch, Hood said, though the diamond is smaller and there is less seating. 

"It's just sad to see such a historic baseball stadium suffer this kind of loss," he said.

In the past, Zupo Field has been home to several minor league teams, the American Legion baseball team and others. 

This is a developing story. Check back for updates.

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