School playground spontaneously combusts

Filed under: Places To Go, Day Care & Education

Spontaneous combustion is being blamed for a fire that destroyed a school playground in Arlington, Texas. Surveillance video shows the ground beneath the play equipment suddenly igniting for no apparent reason. Of course, there was a reason - Deputy Fire Marshal Keith Ebel says the excessive rain in the area this summer caused the wood chips to decompose in the hot Texas sun. This decomposition produced heat and that, coupled with high temperatures, caused the dry chips on the surface to ignite.

There were no kids on the playground, so feel free to click the photo and check out the video. Pretty freaky stuff.

According to Mark Carlston, of Forest Wood Fiber Products, this type of spontaneous combustion could only happen if poor quality material was used. He suspects the chips were made with wood fiber that contained lumber with flammable resins or glues, or perhaps ground up tree trimmings or other vegetation. "If the material is made correctly, I would say (spontaneous combustion) would be almost impossible," he said.

The fire melted the plastic playground equipment and caused $35,000 damage. But the Arlington School district will now have to spend $200,000 replacing wood chips with pea gravel at 35 other playgrounds.

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AdviceMama Says:
Start by teaching him that it is safe to do so.