Southeast Denver playground set on fire by possible arsonist

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DENVER — A once beautiful playground is now charred and fenced off in southeast Denver’s Mamie D. Eisenhower Park.

Sometime early Sunday morning, an arsonist set fire to the main play structure in the park.

Families learned the news firsthand on Monday when they arrived with their children.

“It’s upsetting to think someone would deliberately destroy what so many kids use,” said Danielle Clemens, who was visiting the park with her 8-year-old daughter.

A parent found the playground smoldering Sunday morning and called authorities.

The fire is especially concerning since it’s just one of three fires set in the area over the past week.

Two fires were set on a pedestrian bridge over the Highline Canal. Damaged signs and melted debris still line the closed bridge.

“They’re really close. I’m concerned because I live right between the two locations that got burned,” said Gretchen Bartek, another mother visiting the park with her children.

Denver Fire Department investigators have not said the fires are connected, but they say they have a hard time imagining the fire at the park wasn’t intentionally set, even though the official cause is undetermined.

The city does plan to repair or replace the burned play structure, however, there is no word on when that might happen.

If you witnessed any suspicious behavior in the park the weekend of the fire, you are asked to call police.

“I think everyone’s pretty nervous, but we have an amazing community and everyone bands together. And we have an active neighborhood watch in place, so I’m sure we’ll get it figured out pretty quickly,” said Bartek.

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