It was the only park for the neighborhood kids just starting their summer break.  Someone decided to burn it down on Monday night.  Calhoun County Sheriff Matt Saxton was on the WBCK Richard Piet Show on Tuesday and told us about the fire at B. Carol Hinton Park on 27th Street in Springfield. A police officer discovered the playground completely in flames about 11:15pm Monday.

Here’s what it looks like today:

Springfield City workers at the site told WBCK that the playground equipment was made of plastic, and that the ground was covered with recycled rubber mulch.  They say it appears that someone dumped an accelerant in one corner of the play area, and set it ablaze.  The burning rubber produced an intense fire.  They say that they had just completed filling and landscaping on the south end of the small park, so that future improvements such as a pavilion could be added.  The workers say someone set the trash receptacle on fire last summer, and it had to be replaced.

Springfield City Manager Nate Henne told WBCK that early estimates of the damage total about $80,000.  He says he doesn’t know if they’ll be able to rebuild it this summer, but says it definitely will be rebuilt.

Henne says the park was opened in 2012 when Hinton was still alive.

Tim Collins/TSM

Several citizens stopped by the park, shedding tears at the damage to the park honoring their late friend, former Springfield City Council member and community leader Carol Hinton.

Calhoun County Sheriff Matt Saxton tells 95.3 WBCK that the fire was “obviously intentionally set”, so they ask that anyone with information contact the Sheriff’s Office or Silent Observer.