Nothing good happens after midnight.
Those wise words often ring true no matter the location, but they were definitely accurate around 2:30 a.m. Sunday at the Fairview Elementary School playground.
Spencer authorities say that’s when fireworks lit by juveniles caused a fire that did $15,000 in damage to the playground surface and its equipment.
The Spencer Fire Department responded to the fire at about 2:37 a.m. Sunday.
“There were fireworks found on the playground and it set the playground on fire,” Fire Chief John Conyn said Monday. “The playground material is of a special composite. It would seem like rubber tire, but it’s a little more expansive than that.”
It is illegal to use fireworks within the Spencer city limits, although they are legally available for purchase throughout the city.
Police chief Mark Warburton confirmed there is an ongoing investigation into the fire.
Officials are reviewing school security camera footage.
“I believe we’ve got juveniles, unsupervised, discharging fireworks that caused that fire,” Warburton said.
The cost to replace the burned playground surface material is still being estimated, Conyn said. Damage to the equipment was estimated to be worth $10,000.
Firefighters were able to prevent the damage from being worse.
“We responded there and it was quite a swath,” Conyn said. “If we didn’t get there, more playground equipment was about to be lost to a fire.”
Speaking to the council , Warburton reminded the public of the penalties for shooting off fireworks in Spencer.
“It’s a $250 minimum fine for discharging inside the city limits of Spencer,” Warburton said. “By the time you add court costs and surcharges on it’s $397.50, so I’m asking the citizens to really think about discharging those fireworks out in the county rather than inside the city limits here in Spencer.”