Playground equipment smolders after it was set on fire in Lacasse Park in Tecumseh, October 10, 2017. (Photo by Mark Brown, BlackburnNews.com)

UPDATE: Firefighters Extinguish Playground Blaze

A popular playground in Tecumseh is a total loss after a fire.

Fire crews were called to the playground at Lacasse Park around 5:45pm Tuesday after receiving multiple calls on a fire in the area. Firefighters arrived to find the entire play structure engulfed. The blaze spread to a rubber surface on the playground, resulting in clouds of black smoke that were visible as far as east Windsor.

Tecumseh Fire and Rescue Captain Larry Morand says time was of the essence because of the fire’s location.

“When we were dispatched to this we knew it was outdoor equipment, and the dispatchers had told us there were several calls on it because of the smoke,” says Morand. “Because of the nature of where it was located there were obviously a lot of people.”

The playground was a draw for neighbourhood children and was located in close proximity to the Tecumseh Leisure Pool and the Lacasse Park baseball field, where a game was in progress between the St. Clair College and Fanshawe College baseball teams. However, no evacuation was needed.

The park is the site of the annual Tecumseh Corn Festival.

The playground was installed a few years ago and was totally accessible, featuring a surface made of old tire pieces to prevent injuries from falls, Morand says.

“Because it was a rubber based flooring, this was a special flooring for special-needs children so there was no injury,” says Morand. “What happens is because it was a hydrocarbon fire, in order for us to make sure the fire was extinguished, we blanketed it with foam.”

It is believed that the fire was set on purpose and at least one person was taken into police custody. The Ontario Provincial Police is taking over that part of the investigation and no additional information has been released.

There were no injuries. Damage to the playground equipment and composite ground flooring is estimated at around $400,000.

-With files from Kirk Dickinson