Police suspect arson in Goose Creek playground fire

GOOSE CREEK, S.C. (WCIV) -- Goose Creek police are investigating a fire that destroyed a local playground over the weekend.

According to a police report, crews were called out to Fairfax Park around 6 p.m. Sunday. Arriving officers did not see anyone in the park and said Goose Creek firefighters were able to extinguish the flames quickly.

It was around 6 p.m. when Jessica Shoup and her two children were driving home from a dog park, only to realize the park in their own neighborhood was up in flames.

"I was in awe to see flames hooting up and my kids were in the backseat you know crying saying that they were scared," said Shoup.

Immediately Shoup said she called 911 and begin knocking on doors to notify neighbors the Fairfax Park Jungle Gym was completely engulfed in flames.

"Most people were already outside, but I just wanted to make sure people knew because the park is so close to our homes," said Shoup.

Neighbors said it took nearly 20 minutes for the fire department to put out the flames, but Jerry Rieder said the smoke covered the sky.

"You could see big billowing black clouds of smoke from miles away," said Rieder, who has lived in the neighborhood for a year and a half.

The report says the playground equipment, which was made of plastic, was destroyed and valued to be around $5,000.

The reporting officer noted that there aren't any power lines or other sources of possible combustion near the park so he believes the fire was intentionally set.

Witnesses reported seeing three teenaged boys leaving the area. One is described as being about 5'8" and skinny. Another is described as having long, dark hair. One of the boys was on a dark colored bike while the other two were on foot.

"How can a playground wide open like that burn? So logic tells me that had to be set, because everything is chad, it's all plastic, and without some sort of a fire on the bottom there's no way that thing could've burned so quickly all over the place," said Rieder.

Shoup is unsure how the fire started; she just wants Fairfax Park to be rebuilt.

"I'm going to go door to door and see if people would join in a letter writing campaign so we could raise money to get the city to rebuild the park faster," said Shoup

Gary Stuber, Recreation Director for the city of Goose Creek says the park will get rebuilt, but first the incident must go through an inspection with the insurance company.

If anyone has any information about this or any other crime they are asked to call Crime Stoppers at 554-1111 or the Goose Creek Police Department Crime Tip Line at (843) 863-5210.