Playground equipment in Elmer Thomas Park destroyed in overnight fire

Playground equipment next to the miracle league field at Elmer Thomas Park in Lawton mysteriously caught fire overnight.
Published: Jan. 19, 2023 at 6:17 PM CST
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LAWTON, Okla. (KSWO) - Playground equipment next to the miracle league field at Elmer Thomas Park in Lawton mysteriously caught fire overnight.

Lawton Fire Department was called to an outside fire at Elmer Thomas Park around 2:50 am Thursday.

When they arrived the park equipment was on fire.

“It took about 45 minutes for the Lawton Fire Department to put this out. It was really difficult because once mulch catches on fire they’re going to have to rake it spray it rake spray, it’s a little more difficult,” City of Lawton Communications & Marketing Manager Caitlin Gatlin said.

The City said the cause of the fire is still unknown, and they do not know if it was done intentionally. This park equipment has been here for over 15 years, now all that will be left will be the memories that were made.

“If this fire was intentional it’s incredibly frustrating to see this happen. For someone in our community to want to go and set fire to playground equipment that our children play on and enjoy it’s really discouraging and frustrating,” Gatlin said,

There is currently no surveillance video in the park.

“So the only monitoring that’s done in this area is the Lawton Police Department, also the park closes at 11 at night nobody should have been here anyways at that time,” Gatlin said.

Gatlin said replacing this playground equipment will cost about $60, 000.

“This is a place where memories are made and we have to find a new way to rebuild this when the time comes, and in the meantime, there are different options around Elmer Thomas Park that kids can still get out and get active however it doesn’t replace the memories made at this one,” Gatlin said.

The city is asking the public to contact the Lawton Fire Marshall for any information on what happened this morning.