ELKTON — Officials are investigating a fire that damaged a Hollingsworth Manor playground early Wednesday morning.
A resident in the area reported the fire at the playground located off Cow Lane in Elkton about 2:55 a.m. Wednesday, according to the Maryland Office of the State Fire Marshal.
Four Singerly Fire Company firefighters responded to the call, taking only a few minutes to extinguish the flames, officials reported.
Fire marshals reported that the fire is believed to have begun on the plastic slide of the playground owned by the town of Elkton. The structure sustained an estimated $500 in damage, officials reported.
The park is within walking distance of Hollingsworth Manor, and used to include a macadam surface for basketball courts and all-play areas. But town officials removed it after a decade as people were often breaking bottles on the macadam surface and steeling basketball nets and rims, leaving town officials to clean up in the aftermath.
The playground still remains, with parts replaced after it was also vandalized or broken. In recent times, a group of Hollingsworth Manor and Landing Lane residents have banded together to raise the neighborhood’s public perception, and at one time looked to add improvements to the park.
Sheilagh Weinert, a community advocate, said the rising Hollingsworth Landing Association was deeply saddened about the continued vandalism at the park, since ultimately it would affect families and children in the community.
“The playground is small and was in need of an upgrade due to a history of vandalism, but now it has become too dangerous for our communities children to play on,” she told the Whig. “The vandalism was unnecessary. These children live in a community that is trying to begin a new and safe chapter.”
Weinert said that she and her fellow community advocates hoped that with the strength of the community, the playground can see additional repairs and move forward to provide kids a place to play in their neighborhood.
The cause of the fire is under investigation, and anyone with information about the fire is asked to call the Office of the State Fire Marshal, Bel Air Office at 410-836-4844.
Cecil Whig Editor Jacob Owens contributed to this story.