Fire Destroys Fresno Elementary School Playground

Charred bits and pieces are all that's left of the Webster Elementary School playground. The play area went up in flames and firefighters are trying to find out why.

The metal framework is all that's left of the playground. Firefighters say there wasn't much they could do, because the playground is was made of plastic.

Fresno firefighters were at Webster Elementary putting out hot spots for about an hour after the fire started. Neighbors say they were there when the playground went up in flames around 5 p.m. on Monday.

"It was pure smoke, because it was plastic," said Adrianna Brambile, who witnessed the fire.

Brambile went to Webster Elementary. She says the playground she played on was different.

"It was metal and not plastic," she said.

Firefighters say the problem with plastic playgrounds is they aren't durable and if there's a fire, there's no stopping it.

"It burns really well, like gasoline," said Fresno City Fire Department Battalion Chief, Thomas Cope. "So, once it gets ignited it will burn completely down, which is what happened here."

The investigation into why the fire started is ongoing.

Firefighters say they did find a cigarette lighter in the wood chips around the playground.

There are two gates at Webster Elementary School. One surrounds the entire school; the other is around the playground. Firefighters say both gates were locked when the fire started.

The fire did spread to an embankment that borders Highway 180. Several drivers on the highway reported seeing the thick smoke.