The cause is still undetermined for a fire at about 11:05 p.m. July 8 that caused $75,000 worth of damage to playground equipment at Elm Park, Elm Avenue between Brainard Avenue and Stone Avenue.
Fire Chief William J. Bryzgalski said the matter is under investigation. Patrick Fulla, La Grange police investigator, said the department was looking into all possibilities including that the fire may have been caused by fireworks, a lit cigarette, or by arson. The recent hot weather and drought likely aided the blaze, Fulla said, which left woodchips charred ten feet from the playground equipment, melted a nearby trash can and caused a slide on a separate section of the park to bubble as the plastic melted from the heat of the flames.
Dean Bissias, executive director of the Park District of La Grange, said June 9 that he was told the cause was likely fireworks.
La Grange police had received a report of four kids setting off fireworks at Elm Park and then running off at about 9:42 p.m. July 7. Bissias said he was aware of that report.
Bissias said most of the damage is covered by insurance and he is waiting to hear in a day or two whether the equipment is totaled.
One whole section of the equipment was damaged and the rest had heat damage, he said, estimating 75 to 80 percent damage overall. He estimated the cost at $75,000.
The equipment, installed in 1999, had been surrounded by caution tape and has been fenced off.
The park district probably will replace the equipment with something, “more modern, different,” he said, but the process of board approval, measuring the area, bidding and installation is long, and could possibly take six months.
The fire upset parents and kids who came to the park today. One family said they come to the park regularly after day camps for a picnic, and were surprised to see the park destroyed, having been there to play the afternoon before.