COLUMBIA - Firefighters were called to Cosmo-Bethel Park at 5:35 p.m. Tuesday night for what they thought was a "small outside fire."
Battalion Chief James Weaver said when firefighters left Station 7, they could see black smoke coming from the park. When they got to the playground, the tallest play structure was in flames.
Though firefighters put the fire out within a few minutes, the play structure was basically destroyed.
Officials said no one was injured in the fire.
Parks Services Manager for Columbia Parks and Recreation Michael Griggs said the structure originally cost $30 thousand dollars, plus $15 thousand to install. With inflation, he said the damage costs could be upwards of $50 thousand.
"It's unfortunate that this happens," he said. "You know, a few acts, a few kids do something like this just really ruins it for like, 90 percent of the users."
Griggs said the picnic shelter nearby is one of the most popular to reserve in Columbia because of the proximity the nearby play structure. He said the department would be contacting people with reservations to inform them of the fire.