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School gets new playground equipment

HOWELL – Newbury School has new playground equipment five months after a fire destroyed the school’s playground equipment.

An investigation into the cause of a fire on the playground at the school on Newbury Road yielded inconclusive results.

Shortly after 11 a.m. July 8, firefighters from the Southard Fire Department and the Freewood Acres Fire Company were dispatched to the school for what was reported to be a small mulch fire.

Upon arrival, firefighters found a large fire consuming rubber mulch and the playground equipment. Firefighters fought the blaze for about an hour before it was extinguished.

At the Aug. 22 meeting of the Howell K-8 School District Board of Education, Assistant Superintendent for Business Administration Ronald Sanasac said the district’s insurance company had reviewed and cleared the use of the rubber mulch.

Sanasac said the insurance company determined the rubber mulch was not a contributing factor to the fire. He said research indicates rubber mulch is as safe or safer in every attribute than wood mulch.

Sanasac said the cost to replace the damaged playground equipment was about $60,000 and he said the expense was covered by insurance. The district’s cost for the insurance deductible was $1,000.

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