Illinois assessing stadium safety for Friday's game after fire

A fire that broke out Tuesday night at Illinois' Memorial Stadium was safely extinguished without injuries, but the school is still evaluating whether it is safe to host Friday night's football game against Nebraska.

Champaign, Illinois, fire officials responded after grounds crews reported heavy smoke coming from near the maintenance area. Firefighters found a utility vehicle and riding lawn mower on fire.

The school's division of intercollegiate athletics will evaluate the facility Wednesday but said in a statement that "early indications are positive" that Friday's game can be hosted without any interruption or seating changes.

Memorial Stadium opened in 1923 and underwent a $121 million renovation in 2008. The school also completed upgrades to the east side of the stadium before the 2023 season.