Amarillo Safe From Exploding Playgrounds - KFDA - NewsChannel 10 / Amarillo News, Weather, Sports

Amarillo Safe From Exploding Playgrounds

Playground in Arlington, TX Playground in Arlington, TX
The same type of wood chips are used in about 15 to 20 parks in Amarillo. The same type of wood chips are used in about 15 to 20 parks in Amarillo.
Amarillo generally lacks the combination of high temperatures and high humidity that Arlington experiences, according to Larry Offerdahl, Director of Amarillo Parks and Recreation Amarillo generally lacks the combination of high temperatures and high humidity that Arlington experiences, according to Larry Offerdahl, Director of Amarillo Parks and Recreation

The surveillance video at an Arlington school has made its way around the country. It shows a playground spontaneously combusting. A combination of a moist wood chips and the blazing sun created the perfect storm, said Arlington Deputy Fire Marshal Keith Ebel.

The same type of wood chips are used in about 15 to 20 parks in Amarillo, according to Larry Offerdahl, Director of Amarillo Parks and Recreation. "For a playground to spontaneously combust you'd have to have high temperatures and a lot humidity", said Offerdahl.

Amarillo generally lacks the combination of high temperatures and high humidity that Arlington experiences, said Offerdahl. That's reassuring for parents whose children use the playground equipment at Amarillo parks. "That would be scary, especially with my kids who are out there," said Esperanca Brenes.

In addition to not having the right conditions for a playground explosion, Offerdahl says the Parks Department takes other measures to ensure the wood chips do not stay moist. "The other thing we do here in Amarillo is we have a good draining system under the wood chips that you can run through a playground so it doesn't build up moisture, said Offerdahl.

The Parks Department also has plans to replace the use of wood chips at eight of its playgrounds within the next year. Instead, they will use rubber wood chips. That's part of an existing long-term plan to revitilize several of the parks, according to Offerdahl.  "They're much better I think, rubber chips, even rocks are better, as long as they're not wood chips," said Brenes.

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