BELLE GLADE, Fla.-- A new playground meant for children to enjoy at Hand Park in Belle Glade is now charred from a fire and barricaded to keep them out.
"We want to make sure that we have opportunities and equipment available for kids to enjoy especially during the hot summer months and now they can no longer enjoy this equipment here," said community advocate Tammy Jackson-Moore.
Palm Beach County Fire Rescue responded to the playground fire on June 1.
A picture of the fire was taken by a passerby who did not want to be identified. It shows the intensity of the flames.
Belle Glade Mayor Steve Wilson said: "Well, unfortunately we had an accident where someone was smoking a cigarette out there and caused severe damage as you can see."
Before the fire, the city invested $75 thousand to install the new playground. "You're going to have insurance so we will file a claim on it and get it refurbished or get it replaced," the mayor said.
Palm Beach County Fire Rescue says the fire remains under investigation. No one was injured.
The mayor says this is not the first time there's been a fire at the park: "One of those gazebos caught on fire. We don't know what happened or who set it on fire and that was a couple of years ago."
The gazebo was never replaced, but the mayor says the playground will be. "Summer is right here and so what a bad time to have things to happen to us. But again always expect the unexpected and we learn to move on."
The mayor says he hopes to have the playground replaced as soon as possible.