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Posted on Tue, Oct 18, 2011 : 1:29 p.m.

Fire destroys Bryant Elementary School play structure; cause undetermined

By Cindy Heflin

Ann Arbor Fire officials haven’t been able to determine the cause of a fire that destroyed a playground structure at Bryant Elementary School Sunday morning and sent flames shooting 10 feet into the air.

Inspector Ellen Taylor said she investigated the fire Monday, inspecting the structure and interviewing teachers and the principal. There was no evidence an accelerant was used, she said.

Firefighters responded to a call reporting the fire on the playground at the school, 2150 Santa Rosa Dr., about at 8:04 a.m. Sunday, she said. They arrived within four minutes and had the fire out by 8:14, she said. No one was injured.

Taylor said spontaneous combustion is a possibility, but the cause has been ruled undetermined. She said she asked the principal to keep an eye out for any suspicious activity around the structure.

Someone captured a video of the fire and posted it on YouTube. Watch it below.


Ann English

Wed, Oct 19, 2011 : 10:28 p.m.

So the school is in an area that has a problem with flooding if it rains too much.

Mark Salke

Wed, Oct 19, 2011 : 10:14 p.m.

That's just too bad. :(


Wed, Oct 19, 2011 : 6:39 p.m.

I think the most important piece of information is that this has happened at Bryant School. How many Ann Arborites can say they have walked inside the building? It is dark and dingy and the windows are so high you can neither see out of them nor open them. Come on Ann Arbor, I feel it is our responsibility to improve the conditions for the students who attend this school. Either update the school or relocate the students to a more adequate building.


Wed, Oct 19, 2011 : 4:10 p.m.

Thank goodness only one fire truck responded and not the typical five from each city department. Truck arrived within 4min and the fire was out within 6min.


Wed, Oct 19, 2011 : 4:04 p.m.

Gonna go with arson there


Wed, Oct 19, 2011 : 3:47 p.m.

Even though we have had a lot of rain lately, it has not rained in a while. I am wondering if it is a bunch of children playing with matches. Although I always wonder what is in that wood that keeps it from rotting thru and thru. 10 feet into the air eh? Sounds like an accelerant to me.


Wed, Oct 19, 2011 : 12:17 p.m.

I also find spontaneous combustion to be an intriguing explanation.


Tue, Oct 18, 2011 : 8:50 p.m.

Probably some kid sliding too fast after overfilling the lawnmower, while wearing fleece pants and a wool sweater. The static buildup from the plastic slide caused a massive electrical discharge which ignited the gasoline vapors and then the play structure. The kid obviously went back to mowing the lawn before his parents got home from church. On the other hand, maybe it was some froot loop who wanted to get a charge out of the reaction.


Tue, Oct 18, 2011 : 8:24 p.m.

I think something similar to this happened at this exact same playground about 15 -20years ago. Long before the internet for myself, or Ed Vielmetti, to verify. Somebody has to hit the microfiche, and it ain't me.

J. A. Pieper

Wed, Oct 19, 2011 : 12:50 a.m.

Yes, another play ground structure was burned on the West playground, it was wooden, so it burned much better. I don't remember when it happened, but I have been around for a few years, and KNOW it happened. Give me a break, spontaneous combustion with the weather we have had recently? Is this all they can think of since we have had cutbacks in the fire department?


Tue, Oct 18, 2011 : 8:21 p.m.

This was On WDIV like yesterday or before, so they need a shout out.


Tue, Oct 18, 2011 : 8:16 p.m.

While auto-ignition has been known to occur in piles of wood chips, it's very unlikely that it would occur outdoors in these weather conditions.

Wolf's Bane

Tue, Oct 18, 2011 : 8 p.m.

Somebody torched a playground??? People are just getting weirder and weirder by the minute.


Wed, Oct 19, 2011 : 11:35 a.m.

Kids like to play with fire.

carrie smith

Tue, Oct 18, 2011 : 7:17 p.m.

Has anyone blamed Saline students yet?

Craig Lounsbury

Tue, Oct 18, 2011 : 6:32 p.m.

I too am curious about the "spontaneous combustion" suggestion. I don't pretend to know anything about spontaneous combustion other than what i just Googled.

Ben Connor Barrie

Tue, Oct 18, 2011 : 5:55 p.m.

Awww common. No shout-out? I find it suspicious that you wrote this article exactly 1 hour and 30 minutes after I wrote about the same subject: <a href="" rel='nofollow'></a> I'm just saying y'all should play fair and give credit where it's due.


Wed, Oct 19, 2011 : 11:33 a.m.

You can not possibly be the only person to hear about a fire like this.

Chaz H

Wed, Oct 19, 2011 : 3:41 a.m.

Do not flatter yourself. As Craig said, nobody had heard of your site until you posted that link. Also, learn to complete your sentences and properly punctuate your &quot;articles&quot; if you wish to be taken seriously.

Craig Lounsbury

Tue, Oct 18, 2011 : 6:26 p.m.

nice plug, now somebody besides your pals know you exist.


Tue, Oct 18, 2011 : 5:39 p.m.

Spontaneous combustion?!?!?! Somebody torched this thing.