Playgrounds Catch Fire In Heat

The extreme temperatures are causing even more problems for some local schools.

Two playgrounds have caught fire because of the heat.

One of those happened earlier this week in Muhlenberg County.

Investigators say the fire was caused by spontaneous combustion when the heat from a slide ignited wood chips.

The wood chips are used to cover the playground to make it safer for kids.

We talked to a local school district to find out what they're doing to keep your child's playground safe.

Bailey Birge loves to swing.

"My mom works here and sometimes after school we walk around the building and occasionally come out here and play," said Bailey, a 6th Grader at Red Cross Elementary.

But Bailey hasn't been able to enjoy the playground lately.

"Sometimes when it gets really hot it kind of burns," Bailey explained.

By using a temperature gun we found that the playground equipment ranges from 118 to 150 degrees so it's no wonder these kids aren't allowed outside for recess.

P.E. Teacher Cory Edwards said it's so hot, the students have been playing inside.

"A few exercises and board games, those are the activities we're doing right now," Edwards said.

But even without kids, the playgrounds are still being watched by school custodians and principals.

"If they see anything different going on, they report it immediately," assured Steve Russell, Director of Facilities for the Barren Co. School District.

Barren County school officials say they're really not that worried about their playgrounds catching on fire, they're in the process of switching wood chips for rubber crumbs.

"It is my understanding that the ignite is much higher, so we're not as concerned about spontaneous combustion," Russell said.

Neither is Bailey Birge, she's just ready for the heat to go away.

"You don't get to stay home and swim. You have to stay in the rooms and don't get to come outside or anything," Bailey said.

The superintendent of Bowling Green City Schools said they will be monitoring all of their playgrounds and check with the fire department to see if there are other precautions they need to take.

But an official from Warren County Schools said because of the heat, their students aren't allowed recess and don't believe there's any threat of a fire.


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