LONGMEADOW, Mass. (WWLP) – The unknown hazardous material that was found on the Bliss Park playground on Sunday has been identified.
According to the Longmeadow Fire Department, crews were called to the park for a suspicious substance that was found on the playground equipment. At the same time, Longmeadow Fire/EMS was sent to a residence due to two children having burn-like injuries after they left the park.
Fire crews then determined that the material was acidic in nature, and it was poured on three of the slides on the playground. The Massachusetts Department of Fire Service Hazardous Material Response Team, Mass State Police Crime Lab Team, the District Attorney’s office, and the Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection (MADEP) also assisted.
During the investigation, it was discovered that the pump room in the basement of the pool building had been broken into. Two of the fences were climbed over and a ventilation shaft was torn off. The suspects had gotten into the pool room through the ventilation shaft. The pool room contained the chemicals that were poured onto the slides.
The chemical was determined to be muriatic acid, which is a diluted solution of hydrochloric acid. Additional evidence was gathered and sent to the crime lab for forensic analysis and for fingerprinting. The crews suspect that the suspects who did this will have acid burns on their hands or arms and their clothing might be degraded from the contact with the chemical.
The pool chemicals had also been stored properly in a secured area. The Town of Longmeadow, along with MADEP, has a specialty contractor that will clean the play space and other materials. The playground area will remain fenced off due to caution until they can determine the next step. All of the hazardous materials have been cleaned up and removed, and the rest of the park is open.
“It’s very concerning. I don’t know the details so much right now but if it’s anything real. Like a real hazardous situation, it’s very concerning it’s a playground kids are there we play baseball games there’s a little Mr. Potato Head over there so it’s kids all sound there. It’s scary. Who’s doing this?” said Mike Wing, a concerned parent from Longmeadow.
“To know that something likely would happen, to know that the only person who was likely to be harmed would be a small child… that is just really sad and disappointing,” said Longmeadow parent Ashley Thielen.
The Longmeadow Police Department asks that if you witnessed anything suspicious during the evening/overnight hours in the area of Bliss Park & Pool, contact the Detective Bureau or the department’s tip line at 413-565-4199. If you live in the area and have exterior security cameras, review them and contact the police department if you feel they have captured anything suspicious.
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