Arson Fire Destroys Fort Worth Playground Equipment at Wedgewood Park

Damaged equipment valued at around $90,000

Investigators with the Fort Worth Fire Department say a arson fire in a city park destroyed nearly $100,000 in playground equipment Wednesday morning.

Firefighters were called to Wedgewood Park along Winifred Drive, adjacent to Bruce Shulkey Elementary School, just before 9:30 a.m. after someone set fire to several pieces of playground equipment.

When firefighters arrived, they reported the equipment was fully involved and putting off a large column of black smoke.  The smoke was attributed to the plastic parts of the equipment burning, fire officials said.

Around 9:30 a.m. each day Kathy Crabb, who lives across the street from the park, is working in her yard. She wasn't on Wednesday due to the colder temperatures, but when she left her house she saw the fire.
"It was a huge horrible fire, obviously purposely set," Crabb said. "It was huge, the smoke was black, and the fire was way up above the swing sets. And you could hear it because of the wind."

After the flames were doused, all that was left was warped metal and melted plastic. Plastic parts were so disfigured by the heat they're unrecognizable. Nearby trees were also scorched and the wood chips on the ground have been significantly burned too.

"Several juveniles were seen in the park at the time of the fire and fire investigators know their identities," officials said in a news release Wednesday afternoon. "The juveniles are considered persons of interest and will be contacted by investigators."

"It's terrible you know, this is a place where kids come play everyday," said Justin McBee, who lives several blocks away.
McBee brought his two kids to the park for lunch, not knowing they would find charred wreckage instead.
"It ruined our day, we were looking forward to it, having a nice day at the park and playing and burning off some energy and stuff," McBee said.

There were no injuries reported, however a representative of Fort Worth Parks and Community Services stated that the damaged playground equipment is valued at approximately $90,000.

Investigators are asking anyone who may have additional information about the incident to call the Fort Worth Fire Investigations office at 817-392-6850.

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