UPDATE: Fire Erupts at Wantagh Elementary School Playground

Wantagh superintendent says fire appears to have been started by fireworks.

A playground at caught fire late Monday morning in what district officials say appears to have been caused by the playing of fireworks.

The responded to extinguish the flames, which broke out in the rear of the playground in the back of the school located on Beech Street. Fire officials could not immediately be reached for comment.

Philip D'Angelo said from information he has gathered, the fire appears to have been started as a result of people playing playing with fireworks behind the playground. He said the playground is now closed and will not reopen until proper repairs are made.

"We are working as diligently as we can to quick get the playground fixed and get it reopened but obviously we want to ensure the safety of the children of our community so we need to close it for now," D'Angelo said. "We are continuing to investigate the cause of the fire and looking to see who may be responsible for it." 


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Robert A. Buoy July 26, 2012 at 09:09 AM
Also the little league field and this playground are poorly lit at night so you can't even see these punks on the playground equipment or on the little league field. Car 710 is too busy hanging out behind the wantagh fire station on park ave to patrol the school grounds and chase these trespassers away or issue JD cards.
rick donovan July 26, 2012 at 11:53 AM
Sorry Parents--Sorry situation!!! Good luck, I have to to deal with my sorry Seaford A-WIPES!!!!
Charlie Bacon July 27, 2012 at 01:22 AM
Still see kids on the playgrounds at night. The odor of marijuana is strong from the small playground area and little league bleachers. Where are the county cops and parents of the wantagh youth ? Who pays for the rent a security guard on the weekend that socializes with the teenagers that are on school grounds after dark? Time to start locking these whippersnappers up and let the parents spend $$ on lawyers ! Don't rebuild this play area let the high schoolers go hang out somewhere else Mr. D'Angelo.
Charlie Bacon July 27, 2012 at 01:27 AM
The county fire Marshall's office investigates fires not the NCPD.
rick donovan July 27, 2012 at 02:02 AM
Parents are busy sleeping with MS IMA ZANAX & MR JACK DANIELS!!!
Lorraine DeVita July 27, 2012 at 04:53 PM
all homeonwers in the areas surrounding the schools should position their sprinkler systems to water the field during high congestion times. or possibly even play very LOUD frank sinatra - edda james music - this way the rest of the neighbors canhave a good time listening to good music and the cockroaches will disperse.
Chris Wendt July 27, 2012 at 06:04 PM
The fire was a daytime event. There is no intent, nor should there be, to restrict access to school yards, playgrounds and fields during daylight hours. It is still not clear whether the fire was caused by fireworks brought into the playground by kids, or whether is was caused by a firework launched from a neighboring backyard. The night time activity, particularly access security at the "Big Toy" playgrounds, remains a serious issue, mostly from the perspective of potential injury in an "unsupervised" school facility. I have read many Notices of Claim citing "failure to supervise" as the cause of action against the school where kids have been hurt on school property in a variety of situations. The issue of police taking action without a complaint having been filed by the school board is complicated, especially presently because the internal precinct policies differ between the commanders of the First and the Seventh. Once these precincts merge, there will be a single policing policy articulated to the school board, and the board can decide how best to react to that policy, whichever version will emerge. The schools are not the only congretating places for teens, but they are much better (safer) than some local venues, especially those in the woods surrounding our lakes and streams, from Merrick Road to Jerusalem Avenue. Alcohol, drugs, sexual activity; bonfires, and environmental & ecological destruction abound, deep in those woods late at night.
Lorraine DeVita July 28, 2012 at 01:49 AM
Chris- congregating ANYWHERE by large or small groups of teens should be prohibited- I and others have asked numerous times WHAT THE EHLL are these parents thinking? out of sight out of mind.? dropping off their kids as some here have stated at the school so their kids could hang out? personally i would be there taking photos of every license plate, every car that does a drop the kids off and of every kid and hand that over to the cops.. Whatever happened to parental involvement control and god forbid good old fashion PARENTING.. no excuses people..bottom line indifferent bad parenting - you dont want 30 kids hanging in your backyard think about the homes neighboring the schools they dont want YOUR kids in THEIR backyard either!
Chris Wendt July 28, 2012 at 11:12 AM
Congregating is a constitutional right. The parenting part comes in the form of bringing up your child to make good choices about where, when and with whom they choose to congregate, and, how they behave when they get together. Most parents have done a good job in those respects, as measured by the fact that most teens (around here) are well behaved most of the time, and can find ways to have good, clean fun together on hot summer nights.
Lorraine DeVita July 28, 2012 at 02:31 PM
Chris, BS- Just plain BS- when PARENTs are dropping their kids off at school property to hang out then there is an obvious deriliction of responsible sound parenting. You want your kid to behave responsibily and make wise choices then you as a PARENt have to exhibit the same. By NOT recognizing the fact that large groups of kids hanging out have a proclivity of causing excessive noise and possibly damage to property then you have your head stuck int he sand. You want the kids to have good clean summer fun, INVITE them to your house ! keep an eye open and behave like an adult .. By dropping you kid off at a chool at nite doesnt absolve you of your parental repsonsibility what it does say is ITS OK TO ACt like an ASS as long as i dont see it. Some respect and concern and acknolwedgment that these kids no matter how great you think they are are disturbing someone else while you twiddle your thumbs in the glorious quiet sounds of summer in your undistrubed backyard. ANd if you WANt you kid hanging out on school property then atleast have the courtesy to seek a permit or whatever it is and PAY the district for the use! Bet they want a guarantee that an adult will supervise which will quickly squash any likeability about hanging out at the school. lol..
Lorraine DeVita July 28, 2012 at 02:34 PM
Schools should post a sign that clearly states ALL school grounds are closed after dark and violators will be prosecuted. and then OBVIOUSLY follow thru!
Chris Wendt July 28, 2012 at 03:29 PM
Lorraine, we are not connecting at all on this. When my kids were in their teens, our house was often a place for hanging out. This tradition carried through for some of our grandchildren and their teen-aged friends, on many nights in recent years. But not every night, and many nights my kids and later my older grandkids were not at our home, they were elsewhere, having fun and behaving pretty well most of the time. I not only am "not recognizing...that large groups of kids hanging out have a proclivity of causing excessive noise and...property damage", but I reject your premise as being simply non-factual.
Nick Gherz July 28, 2012 at 03:56 PM
The schools have those signs posted !!!
Chris Wendt July 28, 2012 at 04:26 PM
...and those signs, the rules they represent, are honored more in the breach than in the adherence, as Burton Turkus was fond of saying about policies in name only. Right along with no smoking on school property, no drugs, no dog walking, etc. If there is no one there from the school to enforce what the signs say, if the school leaves the gates open and unlocked, then what good are signs? And don't say that the cops can rely on those signs to chase kids, or write tickets or make arrests, or that the cops are even responsible to enforce most of the rules on those signs. School boards and school administrators, and many residents make a bad assumption that enforcement of school rules can be laid upon the police to do the school's job. Schools have security guards, and how many, when and where those guards are stationed or sent to patrol is a budget decision. What instructions the guards are given, and what authority they have is a risk-management decision. And yes, too often "security" "guards" are not very security-minded or not given good instructions or enough if any authority.
Lorraine DeVita July 28, 2012 at 04:45 PM
non factual? well lets see how about you taking a ride around town and hanging out at ANY of the schools in the area seaford or wantagh, or how about you driving by a few of the TOH parking lots or the Seaford train station? Do YOU NOT go out at nite? lol chris these kids are NOt at home ANYONEs home.. and while NOt the majority the numbers ARE growing rather then diminsihing- My kids like yours didnt hang out it wasnt allowed they were either HERE or at a friends house whose parents held the same principals and parenting philosophies as we did. Parents were always within ear shot ..and in the rare instance when they werent it was the LASt time my kid went there...typicaly the kids who are free to roam or do what they like, kids whose parents think @ age 12/13 that these kids are old enough to make adult decisions are the kids who are hanging out , drinking, having sex , possibly doing more then any parent even thinks their kid is capable of doing. So chris being naive doesnt help these kids , being indifferent doesnt help these kids , being defensive doesnt help these kids. Being a parent, one who actively parents who doesnt try to be the good guy all the time, who says NO your not the parent who doesnt serve alcohol to teenagers, or doesnt let their teen invite kids over, then goes out for the nite. I see it , as do others, ineffectual parenting creates problems. Kids arent stupid they know better then anyone when parents just dont care.
rick donovan July 28, 2012 at 04:49 PM
OR $$$ , Chris!!!
Lorraine DeVita July 28, 2012 at 04:54 PM
as to the schools security being ineffectual, a taxpayer as you well know has every right to call the district on their lack of responsibility. and hold them accountable . You have a new Superintendent perhaps the homeowners surrounding the schools should request that the new super and a few board members camp out in their backyards , have a hot dog and get a birds eye view themselves.. see first hand what the issues are. sometimes seeing is actually believing and perhaps you should join him. Not all kids are bad, nor do they all hang out , but the ones that are headed for trouble are the ones that need to know there are consequences for their actions, apparently something they dont learn at home.
Lorraine DeVita July 28, 2012 at 05:04 PM
Well obviously RD if the security hired arent doing their job they SHOULDNT be getting ANY dollars.!!!!! its called: your getting paid to do a job, you accepted the job and knew the pay , you now do the job or get fired! whats so hard about grasping the concept :people EARNING the dollars we pay them.. We should pay people who dont do the job effectively MORE money to motivate them? What did they think they were hired to do? i come from the school of staying employed should be motivator enough!
Chris Wendt July 29, 2012 at 12:10 PM
Lorraine, this response is intended to be general but your name is on it, just because. You may have empty nest syndrome, your kids grown and out on their own, not living nearby. Maybe a twinge of longing for those times together, and a touch of jealousy seeing other kids congregating and hanging-out, being teenagers. You can't go back to those Halcyon Days, and yes, today's youth are just like your kids, and just like you and I were when we were kids, and all this blatant congregating and hanging-out does give the lie to our mental images of those Halcyon Days that never really were quite as we view them, now, through the fog of fond remembrance.
Lorraine DeVita July 29, 2012 at 01:32 PM
LMAO- @Chris, NO i am not in a fog or long for the bygone days ...TRUST ME- What i am saying is this- Parents need to PARENT - I have many friends who are younger with kids in HS . MS and some even in elementary school I also have friends who have kids in college its a mixed bag multi generational- and some are great parents and a few shouldnt have had kids at all! harsh but true- I see kids walking around at 11 12 pm and yes even 1 am in the morning these are MS/HS kids roaming around at all hours of the nite and early am. not one or two but maybe 6-10 kids .. my quesiton to you is this regardless of HOW old i am or you are regardless of the genrational difference in ages between ourselves and the parents of those kids . dont you think that the parents of those kids should be more cognizant of the fact that their kids ARENT home?
Lorraine DeVita July 29, 2012 at 01:38 PM
When mykids grew up it was alot safer and i still didnt let them ROAM at all hours of the day and nite- they had a curfew they had rules and yes there were many "disagreements " ie "so &so's parents let them"- and my response is lets call so and so's parents and see what they ACTUALY are saying or are aware of or even better lets see if you can move in." My kids were by no means perfect and like all kids they did try to get away with whatever , but it is up to the parents to reel em in, make sure they understand the rules and boundries and if those lines are crossed that there will be consequences. There are MANy good kids out there and its due to the fact that their parents give a damn arent afraid of conflict , who actualy take an active interest in their kids lives. The parents that dont, usually end up either making excuses , or bailing their kids out literally and figuratively . There is nothing new about this it was the same when i grew up when my kids grew up and even as my grandchildren grow up.. Parents need to parent, and guess what- KIDS WANT their parents to ACT like parents ! so please dont think i am longing for the bygone days, i am quite happy with the stage of my life i am in now . I get to SPOIL my grandchildren, travel and do all the things I couldnt do when my kids where growing up BECAUSE both my husband and I took being parents VERY seriously. I laugh because my son says to me "you didnt tell me being a parent was so HARD" i smile and laugh
Lorraine DeVita July 29, 2012 at 01:46 PM
I tell him you have it easy they are only 3 & 6 - WAIT till the REAL fun begins with puberty! Thats when you can kiss your life & hair goodbye, because it only gets harder and more challenging as they get older.
rick donovan July 30, 2012 at 12:52 PM
Could it be that the youngsters are roaming at all hours because the parent or parents are out themself to all hours of the early AM???
Lorraine DeVita July 30, 2012 at 12:59 PM
Parents might be better served if they remember to ASK their little darlings these few words before they head out - WHO WHAT WHERE WHEN HOW AND WHY- and if they dont like the answer or the answers are incomplete or vague then they should just say NO!
wantagh August 14, 2012 at 10:39 PM
Did the school ever find out who did his?
rick donovan August 15, 2012 at 01:44 AM
No, but I guess it starts with K -ends with s!!!
wantagh August 15, 2012 at 02:41 AM
so then I guess nothing will be done then. . Well most of wantagh knows exactly what that stands for..
rick donovan August 15, 2012 at 02:48 AM
I like to use this word. NAFT!!! it means NOT A F-INF THING!!!
wantagh August 15, 2012 at 02:41 PM
I guess we will wait for something really bad to happen before kids have consequences.I know it is the parents who need to discipline. Their own kids but many don't so how about those cameras. These kids have been doing.g the same thing for years and they are the same kids.A continued slap on the wrist isn't helping and fire can and has killed people.
rick donovan August 15, 2012 at 03:03 PM


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