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Fire that destroyed part of Chastain Park intentionally set, investigators say

An online fundraiser to rebuild the treehouse has raised more than $38,000.

FULTON COUNTY, Ga. — A fire that destroyed part of the Chastain Park playground was intentionally set, according to Atlanta Fire and Rescue.

A department spokesperson said investigators have determined the May 14 fire was a case of arson. No one was hurt and, so far, no arrests have been made.

The fire destroyed the beloved Summer's Treehouse, named after the designer's 16-year-old daughter Summer Dale, who died of cancer not long before construction began.

The treehouse drew people from all over the metro Atlanta area and was particularly special because it was one of the state's biggest ADA-compliant pieces of playground equipment, meaning children and parents of all abilities could play in it.

Rosa McHugh, executive director of the Chastain Park Conservancy said they're hopeful they'll be able to rebuild this year, in large part thanks to an online fundraiser that has raised more than $38,000.

"I couldn't believe that somebody would harm a structure that is so beloved by children and families alike," McHugh said. "It's crazy. I don't know what message you would be sending."

Credit: Cynthia Gentry

Atlanta City Council members Mary Norwood and Matt Westmoreland have also committed to donating $10,000 to the rebuild, according to the fundraising page. 

"It was a lot of work to make it happen, and to see it disappear so quickly was heartbreaking," McHugh said. "The silver lining has been, wow, we did something that was meaningful to the community and the community wants it back."

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