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Hersheypark Arena Fire Contained By Firefighters, Damage Should Be 'Easy To Repair'

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The 75-year-old Hersheypark Arena caught fire Thursday, but firefighters were able to contain the five-alarm blaze. The building is fill of history, most notably the scene of Wilt Chamberlain's 100-point game.

Image by Eric Beato, <a href="" target="new">via Flickr</a>. Used with permission.
Image by Eric Beato, via Flickr. Used with permission.

Hersheypark Arena caught fire Thursday afternoon, reaching five-alarms before several fire crews were able to contain the blaze. Officials have said the damage to the roof should be "easy to repair."

The fire was first reported at around 1:10 p.m. ET, according to the Harrisburg, Pa. Patriot-News. The building was evacuated and video from the scene showed smoke and flames pouring out of the roof of the building. Around 3:30 p.m., firefighters ordered "unnecessary personnel" to evacuate from the room, as they felt a collapse was possible.

Hersheypark Arena was the scene of Wilt Chamberlain's record-holding 100-point performance in an NBA game between the Philadelphia Warriors and New York Knicks on March 2, 1962.

The building hasn't been consistently used in a professional capacity since 2002 when GIANT Center opened its doors across the parking lot. The Hershey Bears hockey club moved to the new building and have played there since, but the roots of the American Hockey League's oldest franchise still remain at their old home. The club, born in 1932, moved to Hersheypark Arena following its opening in 1936 and played over 2,200 games there before moving in '02. The Bears are currently the top affiliate of the NHL's Washington Capitals.

Since the Bears' departure, the arena has been used as a practice facility for the club and is the home of the Lebanon Valley College ice hockey team. High school sporting events, including various Pa. state championships are held at the arena as well.