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South Philadelphia Man Charged With Arson Of FDR Park Playground

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(The charred remains of a playset at FDR Park in South Philadelphia.  Credit: John Ostapkovich)

(The charred remains of a playset at FDR Park in South Philadelphia. Credit: John Ostapkovich)

Steve Tawa Steve Tawa
Steve Tawa joined KYW Newsradio in 1990, and splits his time between...
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By Steve Tawa

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — A man who lives near FDR Park in South Philadelphia has been charged with a recent arson of the playground there that all but destroyed it.

Police believe 26-year old Kevin Beattie ignited takeout food in a bag under the playground equipment.

“There were some indications they were doing fireworks in the playground. It led to him igniting other items, like the bag, under the slide area, as well as paper items in other parts of the playground,” says Deputy Police Commissioner Kevin Bethel.

He says either Beattie or another man–who wasn’t charged–may have even called 911 when the playground equipment was set ablaze.

“He is on location after this incident. I don’t know if it’s him or someone with him, but there is a call to 911,” Bethel says.

After the fire, Mayor Nutter called it an “act of evil,” because the site was a sacred place for children and families to enjoy. The playground, which cost more than $300,000 to build, had only been open about a year. It will be rebuilt.

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