Fire destroys park observation deckJune 28, 2012
The Park Forest Police Department is investigating the cause of an early morning blaze that destroyed an observation deck in Park Forest’s Central Park.
Fire crews were dispatched to scene on North Orchard Drive at 5:06 this morning. On arrival, the fifteen-foot-tall wooden observation deck, situated in the center of the 45-acre wetland, was fully engulfed in flames.
Crews were on the scene for over an hour, where they used fire extinguishers to put out the blaze due to the limited access at the site.
Village officials estimate the cost to replace the structure at $10,000.
Park Forest Mayor John A. Ostenburg expressed his disappointment while calling for the person or persons responsible for the fire to face punishment.
“It is extremely disappointing that something like this would happen to a major amenity in our community that so many enjoy, and now we have to face the unfortunate situation to either leave it unrepaired or spend a considerable amount of tax dollars to replace it.”
“We have to establish if somebody did this consciously or accidentally, but in either case, they need to be held responsible.”
Fire officials say that while the cause of the fire is under investigation, it is being called a fire of “suspicious nature.” An empty cigar wrapper was found at the scene – leaving open the possibility of the fire being accidentally set.
The observation deck was installed in 2004 with a large portion of the funding donated by the Park Forest Rotary Club.
Anyone with information is asked to call the Park Forest Police Department at 708-748-8390.