Insurance will pay for damage done in Bear Creek playground fire, city says

MEDFORD, Ore. – A criminal investigation is underway after part of a popular Medford playground burned down.

Early Thursday morning, witnesses reported seeing an unidentified person “playing” with a butane torch at the Olsrud Community Playground in Bear Creek Park.

Shortly after the alleged sightings, a fire broke out that ended up destroying a part of the playground built for young children.

Nearby residents said it was out within 45 minutes of firefighters showing up.

While investigators haven’t solidly confirmed a connection between the fire and the person who was reportedly seen with a butane torch, the city said the entire matter is the subject of a criminal investigation.

As the city continues to evaluate the damage, Medford Parks and Recreation’s director Rich Rosenthal said, “We’re going to replace it. We’re going to restore it to the greatness. I can’t tell you how long it’s going to take, but by gosh we’re going to get it done.”

The morning after the fire, the City of Medford provided an update about the damage, saying the burned area will be cleared next week and the entire playground will have to be closed while work is being done.

The city’s insurance will reportedly cover repair costs, but security improvements will have to be paid for by Medford Parks and Recreation.

Those who want to help out financially with the restoration process can donate at

Those wishing to help with repairs can contact the city’s volunteer coordinator, Tyson Thompson, at 541-774-2695 or [email protected].

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