‘It’s really sad’: Juneau kids sorry to see playground burn

Firefighters at Project Playground at Twin Lakes on Monday, April 24, 2017. (Photo by Quinton Chandler/KTOO)

Foam clung to the charred remains of castle steeples and playhouses while firefighters swept the Twin Lakes playground with high-pressure hoses.

The smoke was thick but through the gaps, it didn’t look like much was left of the popular playground located in a park north of downtown Juneau.

The playground caught fire Monday evening. Bystanders watching from the sidelines said it was a huge loss.

11-year-old Kala Burras was watching the fire crews with her parents and brother. She said she feels a strong connection to this park.

“It was really important because I liked to play on it everyday and it was just really fun to play on it and now that it’s gone, it’s really sad,” Burras said.

Kala said she especially used the park in the summer months, something she was looking forward to doing this year.

“I’m probably just going to go see if there’s any other thing I can do, like play at another park, but it’s probably not going to be as good as this one,” she said

Kala and Kaleb Burras with their parents Latroy, left, and Donny, right. (Photo by Quinton Chandler/KTOO)

Kala’s 10-year-old brother, Kaleb said he loves the park, too, and he and his friends usually play here during the summer.

“I’m probably going to stay home and play video games now,” he said.

But, he said video games won’t make up for it completely.

Nerio Bernaldo said that his kids hadn’t even seen the fire damage in person yet. He showed them a picture on Facebook before coming out to the scene.

“When I got wind of it, I told them about it and immediately they started crying, so I could see the effect that it had on them and that was just by word of mouth,” Bernaldo said. “So, I think by a lot of kids actually seeing it would cause a lot of emotional trauma and they’d be upset about what’s going on.”

Nerio Bernaldo on Monday. (Photo by Quinton Chandler/KTOO)

Bernaldo was sad and angry. He wants to know how the fire started. He said this playground was a go-to destination for a lot of families, including his. He said it was like a safe haven for his kids in a community where he is increasingly worried about his kids having a safe place to go.

A Facebook group called Rebuild Castle Park popped up Monday and within three hours of the fire, there were nearly 1,800 members.

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Quinton Chandler is a reporter at KTOO in Juneau.

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