Two children suffered burns after playing on slides that had been splashed with stolen acid at a Massachusetts playground over the weekend.
Police officers and firefighters rushed to Bliss Park in Longmeadow on Sunday morning for a report of a suspicious substance on slides, the Longmeadow Fire Department said in a statement.
At about the same time, firefighters and EMTs went to a home in town for a report of two children with burn-like injuries who had just left the local playground.
Ashley Thielen told the local outlet Western Mass News that her tots, including a 1-year-old, were hurt and crying after sliding through a puddle of acid.
Thielen and her kids were the first ones at the playground around 8:15 a.m. Sunday. The mom recalled noticing liquid collected at the bottom of a slide, but she let her little ones play.
“I just assumed it was rainwater,” she said. “I didn’t really think much of it, and then my baby, who is 1, just started crying. That was when I knew this liquid that they were around wasn’t water.”
Photos shared by the woman show her children’s legs swollen and blistered after coming in contact with the chemical.
But Thielen said the situation could have been much worse for her young son.
“The thing that he always does with our water table is he dips his whole face into it, so I’m actually surprised he didn’t do that [with the acid],” the mom said.
Authorities determined that someone tore off a ventilation shaft cover, broke into a basement storage room where chemicals are kept at the park’s swimming pool and stole some muriatic acid.
The acid — a diluted solution of hydrochloric acid that can be used for cleaning or for maintaining a pool’s pH balance — was poured on three slides, authorities said.
Police collected evidence and sent it to the crime lab for forensic analysis and fingerprinting.
No one has been arrested or charged as of Tuesday, but police said the suspect or suspects may have also been injured.
“We suspect that the perpetrators may have suffered acid burns to their hands or arms and their clothing may have indications of being degraded from contact with the acid,” said the statement issued by the fire department. “If you know of someone with new burns to their hands or arms or may have had burned clothing, please also notify Longmeadow police.”
The acid had been cleaned up by a specialty contractor but the playground remained fenced off from the rest of the park, which is open.
Additional cleaning crews are expected to arrive at the playground throughout the week, and it will remain closed out of an abundance of caution until further notice.
With Post wires