Clovis playground destroyed in fire

FRESNO, Calif.

The first fire began just after seven this evening at a city park at Cromwell and Stanford. Pictures emailed to showed flames and a lot of smoke. There was so much smoke, some people who called 9-1-1 didn't really know what was burning. "I looked up and the whole street was white with smoke," said Clovis resident Kirk Schapansky.

Schapansky first thought a neighbor's house was on fire. He wasn't the only one. Because of the confusion, firefighters took no chances. "When we got a report that there was a structure involved, we started a first alarm assignment which consisted of the entire Clovis fire department. When we arrived we have several playground structures involved as well as the recycled tires," said Clovis Fire Department Captain Tim Wilson.

The rubber bark made from recycled tires burned quickly as well as the play equipment. 14 year old Jamie Spolini took pictures of the burning playground. "My friend Annie's little brother came yelling, 'fire!'. And at first we didn't believe him but we ran outside and saw smoke. We automatically started taking pictures, said Spolini.

As firefighters battled the blaze, another call came in from a few miles away. This time, a kitchen fire at a home near Temperance and Tollhouse spread to an attic. The family made it out okay, but was temporarily displaced because power was cut to the house.

Even though the two fires had the department spread thin, both were put out quickly and no one was hurt. "Fortunately it wasn't somebody's house. But it's pretty sad the first full day of summer, the kids play area is messed up," said Schapansky.

Firefighters said the cause of this playground fire is under investigation and they wouldn't say if arson is suspected. But one witness said they saw children in the area shortly after the fire started.

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