ATLANTA - A fire at Chastain Park over the weekend left an iconic playground favorite completely destroyed. While Atlanta fire officials investigate a cause, community members are coming together to try and rebuild it.
The playground treehouse was part of the Chastain Park Conservancy’s 10th anniversary campaign in 2014. Organizers cut the ribbon on the roughly $200,000 structure in 2016. The staple structure went up in flames Saturday night.
"Around 9:30 or so we received texts that there was a fire at the playground…it was obviously a total loss," Chasten Park Conservancy Executive Director Rosa McHugh told FOX 5.
It was a big loss for the group and children in the community according to McHugh, who said it was built for children of all abilities to use.
"It’s sad. It’s part of our community and it’s just shocking and sad," parent Leane Silhan said of the incident.
Silhan said the treehouse once served as a safe space for her children.
"The kids remember coming here when they were little and when they first opened this area of the playground," she recalled.
Parent Jessica Hawkins said she and her daughter were shocked to find only portions of the frame of the treehouse left behind during their regularly scheduled visit to Chastain Park on Monday.
"I was sad for the kids because they love to hang out up there, even I go up there to hang out with my daughter so it was pretty sad to see," she explained.
McHugh said the Chastain Park Conservancy has received an influx of support from the community in response to the fire that destroyed the iconic playground. The group started an online fundraiser to try and cover the cost.
"Today, I found out we’ve raised about $18,000 so that’s really exciting," she shared.
While it’s unclear if the fire was intentionally set, McHugh said the focus now is raising money to rebuild and they hope to add some improvements. The fundraising goal for that GoFundMe account is $200,000.