Woodseats fire: Arson attack at Woodseats Playground in Sheffield's Graves Park destroys playground equipment

Devastated volunteers are counting the cost of an arson attack at a playground which destroyed much-loved equipment.

Wednesday, 15th June 2022, 1:05 pm

Police and firefighters were called to Woodseats Playground in Graves Park, Woodseats, at approximately 7.40pm on Monday, June 13 after a fire broke out at the park.

The fire, which South Yorkshire Fire and Rescue said had been started deliberately, caused damage to rubber matting and a basket swing at the community park.

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Fire at Woodseats Playground, Graves Park on Monday.

David Kemp, chair of Woodseats Playground, Graves Park, said that members of the community were devastated and gutted at the news of the fire yesterday.

"The whole committee were absolutely gutted,” said David.

"We have been working together with the local community for five years now and raised over £60,000 to make the playground a better place for everyone in the community, so when this sort of thing happens it is just hugely disappointing.

"The basket swing was on top of some protective matting so the basket swing eventually fell onto the matting and there was additional fuel for the fire from that. All this play equipment is hugely expensive so any damage costs a lot to replace it.

Fire at Woodseats Playground, Graves Park on Monday.

"The worst thing about this is the way damage has been done. We have had minor acts of vandalism in the past, such as trees being snapped and graffiti on equipment.The fire was so destructive and sorting out the mess it has made just takes time and money away from other things we could have been doing.

“We won’t let this setback get us down but it does mean we have to work with the council to find money to replace something that worked perfectly well and we will have to now spend money on something that was working.”

David and the committee are now working hard to replace the swing which he says was placed in the ground to attract a wider range of ages and abilities to the park.

Fire at Woodseats Playground, Graves Park on Monday.

A climbing frame at the park was due to be unveiled this Saturday, but this has now been delayed due to the fire.

A South Yorkshire Police spokesperson said: “Police were called at around 7.40pm on Monday, June 13 to reports of a fire in a play area at Graves Park, off Chesterfield Road.

“Officers attended alongside South Yorkshire Fire and Rescue and a small fire was discovered in the play area, believed to be a deliberate act. The fire caused damage to playground equipment.

“Enquiries are ongoing and anyone with information is asked to call 101 quoting incident number 880 of 13 June 2022.

“Additional patrols will be carried out in the area this evening to provide reassurance to the public.”

South Yorkshire Fire and Rescue said: “Firefighters from Central station attended a deliberate fire in a playground at Graves Park, Cobnar Road, Sheffield at 7:30pm. Rubber flooring and a swing were involved in the fire. The crew left the scene at 8:20pm.”

Woodseats Playground are now fundraising to help repair the basket swing destroyed in the fire. You can donate here.

Anyone with information about the arson attack at the playground should call 101, quoting the incident number 880 of June 13.