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Northeast Kansas City church loses playground in fire after series of break-ins

Grace Church of the Nazarene in northeast Kansas City lost its playground in a fire this week, but Senior Pastor Tammy Carter is grateful there wasn’t more damage.

“You know, another five minutes of delay, and it could have been a disaster,” she told Fox 4 News.

The playground equipment that was donated a decade ago was melted and is completely gone.

“Seems to me that someone was possibly sleeping in the play structure,” Carter said. “We’ve got a big round part that was kind of a sheltered area from the wind and the cold, and then maybe they started a little fire to stay warm and it just got out of hand.”

Kansas City police said a traffic officer working Independence Avenue spotted smoke and called the Kansas City Fire Department. Firefighters extinguished the fire and had the bomb and arson squad investigate. The cause of the fire remains undetermined. The fire caused $1,000 in damage to the roof and overhang, as well as the cost of the lost equipment.

“It has been played in tons,” she said. “It has been an amazing piece to have.”

The fire follows four break-ins in recent months that cost the church $10,00. “It’s discouraging,” Carter said, “the series of break-ins and then this.”

However, she reminds members that the church has a mission to its neighborhood.

“You see lives being changed and the neighborhood being changed in positive ways,” Carter said. “That’s what we want to do, is we want to be a part of changing lives that then change the neighborhood.”

She chooses to look at the bright side of the situation and encourages others to do the same. “Whoever was in, who started got out safely so and the building’s not hurt,” Carter said. “So that’s a blessing.”

Anyone interested in helping the church recover from the fire can visit its website at www.kcgrace.org.

–Alan Goforth | Metro Voice