SAN FRANCISCO, CA–A fire consumed a beloved playground late Thursday night near the Ferry Building, the San Francisco Recreation and Park Department announced today.
Park rangers were alerted at 11:30 p.m. that firefighters had extinguished a blaze at the children’s play area of Sue Bierman Park. Both the San Francisco Police Department and San Francisco Fire Department are investigating.
The fire destroyed a play structure modeled after a pirate ship, a slide, and rubber safety surfacing to protect kids from falls. The site is the only playground within a half mile and serves more than 1,000 children living and attending childcare in surrounding neighborhoods. A second play structure, swings, a seesaw and a rope climber were not damaged, however the entire play area remains closed. Portions of the playground unaffected by the blaze may re-open next week.
“This is heartbreaking and infuriating,” said San Francisco Recreation and Park General Manager Phil Ginsburg. “This playground was a dream that neighborhood families worked very hard to achieve.”
Sue Bierman Park opened in 2011. Its playground opened two years later after families in the downtown waterfront and adjacent neighborhoods formed Friends of the Waterfront Playground and worked with Rec and Park and the San Francisco Parks Alliance to create an environmentally friendly playground where the Embarcadero Freeway once stood.
“It saddens me deeply to see something like this happen to a space that brings so much joy to our community,” said Adhamina Rodriguez, former managing member of the Friends of the Waterfront Playground.
The nearly $870,000 playground was largely funded through private donations and corporate sponsorship, with Zynga as the lead donor. Community members later raised money for new plantings, concrete stroller parking, and bike racks.