ABILENE, Texas (KTAB/KRBC) – Abilene fire crews responded to a fire around 7:00 a.m. Friday morning on January 13. Firefighters found the playground equipment at Arthur Sears Park completely involved in a blaze that could cost $150,000 to $200,000 dollars to replace. The cause has yet been determined, but residents and park regulars like Barbara Ingram said they have their suspicions as to how it began.

“I kind of tend to think it’s younger… teens maybe young 20s doing it when the come out here at night because I see beer cans and bottles and stuff,” Ingram said.

Nearby resident Toni Murillo agreed, she lives just across the street and said she sees folks of all ages at the park long after it closes at midnight.

“Like at two and three o’clock in the morning, what ever time you get home they’re out there at the park,” Murillo explained.

City crews worked the rest of the day to remove melted slides and damaged equipment. The playground has been sectioned off and boarded up to prevent visitors from injury as it is torn down.

“That’s gonna be sad because that’s their playground. They won’t have nothing to do in the summertime,” Murillo expressed.

Ingram said she and her dog Cody visit the park daily for a brisk walk. Although she did not see the fire, she said it’s not the first time she and Cody have come across fire damage on their strolls due to peoples actions.

“I do know that they’ve set fire to that bridge twice… And I almost tripped, you can get your tip of your toe in it and catch it and fall,” said Ingram.

While arson investigators have not confirmed what the cause of the fire is, Murillo and Ingram said they are tired of seeing the park amenities needlessly destroyed.

“Why do you have to go and mess up things that they just put up,” Murillo asked.

“It’s such a nice place for people to come, I don’t know why they destroy it,” Ingram added.

The playground will be closed to the public until further notice. The cause of the fire is still under investigation and BigCountryHomepage will update if more information becomes available.