Blaze at Bartow Arena succumbs to elements, heads for vacation

blaze sThe elements have taken a toll on the Blaze sculpture outside of Bartow Arena.

The neck and body of the iconic concrete statue are deteriorating, and his foundation is cracking. As a result, Blaze will be removed in the next seven to 10 days. UAB’s National Alumni Society (NAS) has commissioned a new statue that will be installed early in 2014.

“Unfortunately the rumors are true, and Blaze is under the weather,” says Becky Watson, associate vice president in the Office of Alumni and Annual Giving. “The good news is that we expect Blaze to return in January, looking better than ever.”

The new statue is being paid for by funds provided by the NAS and the Students Alumni Society — the largest student organization on campus.

The current Blaze, which is 30-feet long from nose to the tip of his tail and weighs 6,000 pounds, was dedicated April 29, 2008, after being commissioned by the NAS.

The new Blaze statue will be close in size and appearance to the current statue.

“We hope to share more information on the new Blaze in the coming months,” Watson said.