Teen arrested after admitting to accidentally setting playground on fire at a Hanford park

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A neighborhood playground went up in flames late Saturday afternoon in Hanford. A man who lives near the park began filming video on his cell phone, where you can see the playground equipment melting. (KFSN)

A neighborhood playground went up in flames late Saturday afternoon in Hanford. A man who lives near the park began filming video on his cell phone, where you can see the playground equipment melting.

The Hanford Police and Fire Department worked together to find the suspect, who was a 14-year-old boy. They said he admitted to setting a fire but did not intend for the outcome. The city said it is going to cost $80,000 to $100,000 in damages.

"His statement was he was lighting some papers on fire and it fell into the bark and started a playground fire," said David Sumaya, Hanford Fire Captain.

Residents who live in surrounding houses said the boy lives in the neighborhood, but said they are disappointed kids won't be able to use the park for a while. One neighbor said the teenager has been known for causing trouble in the area for years, and what happened is disturbing.

Another neighbor said it is a case of 'kids just being kids,' and they don't think he intended at all for this to happen.

Firefighters said they do not know what the boy will be facing until his intent behind the fire is determined by the court, but said people can face up to six years in jail for arson.

"You may think it is all innocent and you're just burning a piece of paper, but based on conditions and what you're burning it can get out of hand within minutes," said Sumaya.

The City of Hanford said some of the equipment in the park was fairly new; the tire swing was just replaced about six months ago and the slide two years ago. They do not know if insurance will help cover the damages yet, but if they do it will take at least two to three months to fix.

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