COLUMBIA — The cause of a fire that destroyed playground equipment at Cosmo-Bethel Park Tuesday evening is under investigation, but the damage has been done.
“My guess is it will take probably at least late into the fall before we get the piece replaced,” said Parks and Recreation Director Mike Hood.
“It’s a big loss,” said Dayton Grover, who supervises children in the Active Kids Club at Cosmo-Bethel. “You see a lot of kids that come by during the morning, and now they have nowhere else to play.”
Although no injuries resulted from the fire, a large portion of the park’s playground equipment was destroyed. Parks and Recreation crews put up an orange, plastic fence Tuesday night to keep children off the damaged equipment.
Two plastic slides and pieces of the playground structure melted. The equipment is badly charred and covered in debris.
The fire was reported about 5:45 p.m. Tuesday by a passer-by and put out by the Columbia Fire Department shortly after, according to a news release.
The fire damaged the western-most playground, next to the JW Ficklin Shelter. A second playground nearby was undamaged.
Hood said the damaged equipment will likely cost between $50,000 and $60,000 to replace. The equipment was replaced there in 2007.
The fire is under investigation, with no new developments since it occurred, Fire Department Battalion Chief James Weaver said Wednesday afternoon.