'Great Deal of Effort' Went Into Plot to Burn Kids

Culprits used ventilation shaft to steal muriatic acid poured on Massachusetts playground
By Arden Dier,  Newser Staff
Posted Jun 13, 2023 9:34 AM CDT

Massachusetts police are searching for suspects who stole muriatic acid from a park building, then poured it on playground slides. Two children suffered "burnlike injuries" after using slides at Longmeadow's Bliss Park on Sunday morning. The Longmeadow Fire Department, which responded around 9:40am, said the acid is believed to have been stolen from the basement pump room of the park's pool building, where pool-related chemicals were "stored properly in a secured area." It added "a great deal of effort was employed to enter this space." According to officials, the perpetrators entered the room through a ventilation shaft, whose cover had been "torn off."

Muriatic acid, a diluted form of hydrochloric acid, is used "to balance pH levels in a pool" and "for certain cleaning applications," per WCVB. New England Disposal Technologies describes it as a "dangerous" and "extremely corrosive" cleaning agent that "should be the last you reach for," per the Hill. The fire department noted "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." Investigators reportedly collected forensic evidence and fingerprints, though they're seeking additional information, including possible surveillance video, from the public. The playground has been closed as a specialty cleanup ensues. (Read more Massachusetts stories.)

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