City launches criminal investigation into fire that destroyed Hermiston park
HERMISTON, Ore. — The City of Hermiston has launched a criminal investigation into what sparked the fire that destroyed half of a beloved playground.
Crews responded to reports of a large fire at Funland Park around 2:45 a.m. on Friday morning. Thanks to their swift action, they were able to contain the fire and only a section of the park was severly damaged.
Brandon Artz with the city’s Parks and Recreation department said the fire is being treated as a criminal investigation unless they find evidence that points in another direction.
“It’s very unfortunate that this has happened,” Artz said.
David Ricker comes to the park a few times a week to walk his dog. He said during the summer, it’s normally filled with kids and it’s sad that they won’t be able to come this year.
“It’s a shame some idiots had to torch something that the kids get so much enjoyment out of,” Ricker said.
This isn’t the first time there’s been a fire at Funland Park either. Back in 2001, a fire burned down the park. An investigation was launched, but no arrests were ever made.
In a show of unity, hundreds of community members donated money to help rebuild the park. Those names are plastered on a fence that goes around the park.
Artz said in just a few hours, dozens of community members have already asked how they can help.
“It’s nice to see the community band together,” Artz said. “We will rebuild the park and make it even better than it was before.”
Artz said the park will be closed indefinitely while the investigation takes place and they come up with a new construction plan.
If you have any information on the fire that took place at Funland Park on Friday morning, call the Hermiston Police Department at 541-567-5519.