‘Suspicious’ Fire Destroys Playground: Officials

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A New Jersey playground was completely destroyed by a raging fire Sunday, firefighters said, and investigators are now saying the blaze appears to be “suspicious.”

The blaze erupted shortly before 5 p.m. and arriving crews immediately saw heavy black smoke coming from the Sgt. Wales Park playground in Linden, authorities said.

Nobody was injured in the blaze, fire crews said.

The fire was knocked down within minutes, however, the playground was destroyed, officials said.

The cause of the fire remains under investigation, but authorities said the blaze is considered suspicious.

The playground was well liked and always full of kids, but now nobody can use it. Houses surround the park.

On Sunday night, the burned playground was surrounded by yellow tape and falling apart.

One man who lives across the street said his kids saw the playground go up in flames and could do nothing but watch it burn.

“They were raised here,” Ned Sumrain, of Linden, said. “They grew up in this park and they actually saw it get burned down in front of their eyes.”

Video from the scene shows thick, black smoke billowing into the sky.

Mayor Derek Armstead said this is the fourth playground fire the city has had. They will either remove rubber mulch from remaining playgrounds or cameras will be put up in other city playgrounds as soon as possible as a result of the blaze, he said.

The damage is estimated at $80,000, officials said.

Linden Council President Jorge Alvarez said they will find the money to fix it.

“It’s for little, little kids,” he said.

There was no immediate word on who might have set the fire, according to officials.

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