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Police: Teen charged with arson of Poolesville playground; damage totals $75K

Investigators believe the fire started under playground equipment at the park on Fisher Avenue near Milford Mill Road in Poolesville.

POOLESVILLE, Md. — A teenage boy faces arson charges after a large fire caused $75,000 worth of damage to a Poolesville playground. 

Investigators say the fire erupted on Sunday afternoon at 19700 Fisher Avenue near Milford Mill Road in Poolesville. The park is near Maggie Nightingale Library. Flames and large plumes of heavy smoke could be seen from across the street.

Firefighters arrived and quickly extinguished the fire. 

A paper bag and sandwich container were set on fire underneath the playground equipment, which ignited the rubber mulch and damaged the playground, according to Montgomery County Fire and Rescue Service spokesperson Pete Piringer.

The boy accused of setting the fire was arrested and charged with arson. He was released to his parents, police said. It’s unclear at the time whether the teen will be charged as an adult or not.

“Whatever their intent was, I don’t know, but they were responsible for setting this fire for the property damage,” Piringer said. 

Parts of the playground are still standing, but crime tape will remain around the area until the investigation wraps up.

“It’s awful because that’s the part that’s like in the center of the town right there where everyone takes their kids to,” said Jessica Starnes, a mom who lives nearby.

What was once a place for kids of all ages and families to hang out, has been reduced to charred rubble. Starnes explained her kids played there on Sunday before the fire was started.

“I can’t even believe that someone would do that. I can’t even understand who would do something like that because the park has been there forever,” Starnes said.

She doesn’t know how to tell her kids about their favorite place to go. 

“When they find out they’re not gonna be able to go there I know it’s gonna be like a damper on them, like a real damper,” she said. 

Police estimated roughly $75,000 in equipment damage from the fire. No injuries were reported.

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