Tuesday, August 14, 2007

The playground, the playground, the playground's on fire

This is scary.

A playground in Arlington, Texas burst into flames when the composite wood chips, a material widely used in children's playground (and dog parks, too), caught fire. The whole incident was caught on tape by a nearby surveillance camera. Initially, there didn't seem to be a reason why the wood chips caught fire (no added accelerant or spark from a carelessly thrown cigarette, for instance), the wood chips seemed to just spontaneously combust. First the chips smoldered and then moments later the playground was completely engulfed in flames. Imagine if there had been children playing when the chips caught fire.

The chances of this happening are highly unlikely, so don't freak out and stop taking your kids to the playground. High temperature and rotting wood chips are being blamed for this incident. But the next time your town thinks about putting in a new park, maybe you can suggest they use pea gravel for the ground surface.

27 comments:

motherbumper said...

OMG - I'm not going to freak but I'm going to use this as an excuse to go waco on that dad who always smokes at the local woodchip playground (for real - he smokes - and pushes his kid on the swing - and puffs like a sailor - I KNOW!).

kittenpie said...

I love that MB is going to go Wco - speaking of conflagrations... heh.

I personally like that rubber matting or plain old sand. But yeah, scary thought. So good no one was hurt.

Queeny said...

What a freaky incident. Reminds me the huge, burning mulch pile that spontaneously combusted near San Antonio a few months ago. Took a few months and several millions of moolah to extinguish it, and no one knows what caused it.

Carrie said...

That is horrible!

But a word of warning on the pea gravel: if you decide to go that route at your home playground, be prepared to have those pesky little rocks stick to the bottoms of your kids shoes, and fill their pockets.

I guess it is better than catching on fire!

Carrie

Magpie said...

Yikes. All the playgrounds around here are wood chips. But we're in the Northeast. Still...yikes.

Lawyer Mama said...

Holy friggin crap! It seems like everyone here has sand, but we used to have woodchips at home.

Redneck Mommy said...

That's some scary shit there.

Wow.

Round these parts most of our playgrounds we either use rubber matting or sand.

Wow...

Mary Alice said...

I actually put out a fire a couple months ago that had started in front of our supermarket in wood chips that were used as landscape decoration. Someone had carelessly tossed a cigarette and it had the area on fire. I smelled the smoke (being from Northern Cal I am hypersensitive to smoke and forest fire smells) glanced over and saw the low crawling fire headed for the building. No one else in the parking lot had even noticed. I swear half the universe has their heads up their asses...but that's another topic entirely...anyway YES be aware of the wood chips, people.

slouching mom said...

Not to be dramatic (OK, I'm being dramatic), but --

IS THERE NOTHING SAFE ANYMORE?

Kyla said...

We do joke that it is hot enough here this summer to cause spontaneous combustion...but to SEE it. Wow. Insane. But it really is that effing hot here.

flutter said...

Jeez! If I have kids I am putting them in bubble wrap. That's all there is to it

PunditMom said...

First the toys from China, now this??

And thanks again for guest blogging at my place! ;)

Blog Antagonist said...

What the hell ever happened to grass??? It was good enough for us. Hell, my elementary school playground was paved with cement. AND, it had swings and a tetherball. Talk about courting disaster.

Honestly...it seems like the more we try to sterilize the world for our kids, the more issues we are creating.

pinks & blues girls said...

Twenty bucks says it's gonna come out that those wood chips were made in China!

Jane, Pinks & Blues Girls

jen said...

well, hell.

when playgrounds attack.

Mamma said...

How is it that generations of kids like us survived playing on playgrounds with grass or even cement below the jungle gyms?

No fires, I guess.

Christina said...

Yikes!

And more proof that Texas is hot as hell.

Anonymous said...

I do want to point out that these are "composite" wood chips, not just regular old wood chips. If you have regular mulch on your playground, you don't have much to worry about. This playground that caught fire had wood chips that were mixed with composite materials (plastic) to make them last longer. Unfortunately, it's also an accelerant for spontaneous combustion.

Phoenix said...

I'm so bad, my first thought was, I wonder if I can find it on You Tube?

I'm glad there weren't any kids there though.

Damselfly said...

The kids will have a hot time playing!

Aw, heck...

Jill Urbane, The Mentor Mom said...

Spontaneous combustion at the playground?! Who would have thunk it?

Julie Pippert said...

Or...GO GREEN! Use recycled materials.

We just finished installing a new playground that uses that.

And wow...how odd. Spontaneous cobustion. Dude.

I mean it is as hot as Satan's pri...uhh never mind.

It's hot in Texas.

myminivanisfasterthanyours said...

Super scary, considering where I live is like a zillion degrees every day. Hope that's not an accident waiting to happen :(

Ruth Dynamite said...

"no added accelerant" - Do Polly Pockets count?

(sorry. inappropriate Matel reference)

Crazy and scary story.

Mother Hoodwink said...

Wow, I never thought about old woodchips on a playgrounds catching fire. It makes sense but I can't believe no one ever thought of fixing that problem.

painted maypole said...

very scary I know that stacked, cut pine can spontaneously combust, but I never thought about mulch!

Kila said...

Great, one more thing to worry about! ;)

My youngest son's school playground is covered with small pieces of old tires, which is very cushy and wonderful, but it leaves black smears on his skin and clothes. When I pick him up, he's black, like he played in a coal mine. At least it washes off, and isn't combustible! And it doesn't give him splinters. I hate those splinters from wood chips. Hmm, which is worse, having a splinter or bursting into flames?