At approximately 7 p.m. on Sunday night, firefighters responded to a caller stating that there were flames in Ingleside Park, surrounding the older child play structure.
Eight firefighters were on the scene and they were able to contain the fire in under one hour. According to Captain Wiley, Spokesperson for the Winthrop Fire Department, the wind may have played a minor part in the extension, however; there were no exposure concerns as a result of the wind.
The cause of the fire is currently under investigation. On the opposite side of the damaged play structure, is the younger child play structure, which was unharmed.
“We are just grateful that no one was hurt,” said Parks and Recreation Director, Sean Driscoll, who is currently working with the insurance company to determine the cost of the damage. “The fire department did a nice job containing it in a timely manner.”
Driscoll said that the playground structure is a total loss and the entire section will need to be replaced, including the flooring. The structure, which was put in 21 years ago, has served as a gathering place for several generations of children and families.
At this time, Chief of Police, Terence Delehanty confirmed four involved parties have been identified, all juveniles between the ages of 12 and 16.
“This investigation will be one that relies on technology, witness statements, and the cooperation of those involved,” said Delehanty. “I am pleased that the parents that we have contacted so far have been cooperative with the police. We would ask anyone with any information to come forward. Unfortunately, the people who are hurt the most by this senseless act are the children of this community who use this park daily.”
According to residents, the flames were substantial and could easily be seen from the houses on the streets that outline the park.
“It makes me so sad that someone would do this,” said Stacey Lamiaux, who lives directly across the park on Brookfield Road. “My daughter was so afraid that the fire was going to spread to our house. Looking out the window that night, I was thinking about how my babies always loved to play at that park.” Ingleside park is located in between Walden Street and Brookfield Road and is home to a baseball field, tennis courts, a gazebo used for town gatherings, and a field used for soccer, football and lacrosse