By Dillon Thomas

WINDSOR, Colo. (CBS4) – One of the newest housing developments in the ever-growing Town of Windsor is without a popular neighborhood park after a fire scorched through the playground Monday. The Village East Park playground was burned in the middle of the afternoon on Monday, melting metal and plastic throughout a 60-foot portion of the park.

(credit: CBS)

Arson investigators and the Windsor Police Department are still investigating if the fire was intentionally started. Many in the neighborhood believe it was, and Public Services Director Eric Lucas said some evidence suggests it wasn’t accidental.

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“This safety surfacing was designed not to do what you see behind us,” Lucas told CBS4’s Dillon Thomas.

Lucas was referencing how the artificial turf burned. He said the product is designed to not spread fire if something like a cigarette or other small fire is started on the surface. Some suggested an accelerant was used.

“Who would do that?” said Theresa Aylward, a woman who frequents the park with her grandchildren.

(credit: CBS)

Aylward said her daughter saw the fire burning in the park on Monday.

“From (my daughter’s) house she could literally see the flames. Her husband had the day off so he walked down here and said the park was on fire,” Aylward said. “Was it intentional? Someone heard a firework go off. Was it accidental or purposeful? Are the children still safe?”

Aylward frequently brings her two grandchildren to the park while out on walks. Her visit to the park on Tuesday was met with fencing blocking the public from access with a thick smell of charred rubber and plastic in the air.

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“(My granddaughter) was just sad,” Aylward said.

The park has only been open for roughly one year, with much of that time being inaccessible due to COVID-19 preliminary restrictions. Now the city thinks it will be closed for at least three-to-four months.

“It did some significant damage to the slide, the safety surfacing and melted about half of the other structure down there,” Lucas said.

(credit: CBS)

Lucas said a contractor would have to demolish the area and rebuild it. The park had some custom designs to it, meaning pieces are not just sitting on shelves waiting to replace the ones that were burned.

Repairs are expected to cost taxpayers upward of $300,000.

“If somebody saw something, please say something,” Lucas said.

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“It’s the closest little neighborhood park. I’m sad and hope they rebuild it,” Aylward said. “There’s another park down the road. So, we will just make it a longer trip and go down there.”

Dillon Thomas