MIND­LESS

South Wales Echo - - FRONT PAGE - LIZ DAY Re­porter liz.day@waleson­line.co.uk For all of the break­ing news, like us on Face­book face­book.com/WalesOn­line

NEW PLAY AREA FOR DIS­ABLED CHIL­DREN DE­STROYED BY VAN­DALS

A NEW play area with swings and slides spe­cially de­signed for dis­abled chil­dren was “ruined” by a fire in the mid­dle of the night.

Fam­i­lies in North Cor­nelly, Brid­gend, have been left dev­as­tated fol­low­ing the blaze, which ripped through the park at Heol Las be­fore mid­night on Satur­day.

Ryan James, 38, from Heol Degwm, said he felt “gut­ted” about the in­ci­dent.

He said his wife Reann, 36, started cam­paign­ing for the fa­cil­ity years ago so their dis­abled daugh­ter Ash­ley and their other chil­dren would be able to play to­gether.

Ryan ex­plained there used to be some swings at the site, but they wanted play­ground equip­ment that was suit­able for dis­abled users.

He said Brid­gend Coun­cil up­graded the park to in­clude a round­about that could ac­com­mo­date wheel­chair-users and a slide de­signed for chil­dren with autism.

The work took about a year and had only re­cently been com­pleted.

Ryan said the park was en­joyed by all of the chil­dren in the lo­cal com­mu­nity and was “heav­ing” in the sun on Satur­day.

He added: “When I heard about the fire, I didn’t want to be­lieve it. I’m ab­so­lutely dev­as­tated.”

Ryan walked to the play area yes­ter­day morn­ing and saw the area had been cor­doned off by the po­lice.

He be­lieves the fire cen­tred on a slide on a hill in the park and a tun­nel, which was left black­ened and charred af­ter the fire.

Emer­gency ser­vices were called to the in­ci­dent at Heol Las in North Cor­nelly just be­fore 11pm on Satur­day.

Writ­ing on Twit­ter, a spokesman for South Wales Po­lice in Maesteg said: “The brand new play area at Heol Las [has been] ruined by mind­less van­dals.”

A spokesman for South Wales Fire and Res­cue Ser­vice con­firmed they were called to the scene at 10.51pm.

One fire crew from Ken­fig Hill at­tended and it took them about half an hour to bring the flames un­der con­trol us­ing a hose reel jet.

He said the fire in­volved a wooden struc­ture in the play area.

RYAN JAMES

Fire dam­age at the play area at Heol Las in North Cor­nelly, Brid­gend

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