Mother of child burned by acid puddle on Bliss Park slide in Longmeadow speaks out

Longmeadow officials are warning the public after an unknown hazardous material was found on the Bliss Park playground structure Sunday morning.
Published: Jun. 12, 2023 at 5:41 PM EDT|Updated: Jun. 12, 2023 at 6:31 PM EDT
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LONGMEADOW, Mass. (WGGB/WSHM) - An investigation is underway after hazardous chemicals were poured down the slides at the Bliss Park playground in Longmeadow, injuring at least two children.

Ashley Thielen was taking her kids to what seemed like a regular day at Bliss Park on Sunday, but after her kids ran up to her sobbing after playing on the playground, she realized her kids were potentially in danger.

Longmeadow Police are currently investigating a break-in at the Bliss Park pool building, where the pool cleaning chemical, muriatic acid, was stolen from the chemical storage room. Police said that the chemical was dumped on 3 nearby slides.

Thielen told Western Mass News that her two children were injured after sliding through the chemical puddle.

“We got there probably 8:15 yesterday morning, so we were the first ones there, I think,” she said. “I let the kids go play. I didn’t notice that there was liquid to collect at the bottom of the slide. I just assumed it was rainwater. I didn’t really think much of it, and then, my baby, who is one, just started crying. That was when I knew this liquid that they were around wasn’t water.”

Thielen sent photos of her children to Western Mass News. You can see her child’s legs were left swollen and blistered after coming in contact with the chemicals. She told us that the wounds are mostly superficial and her kids are okay, but she thinks her situation could have ended up much worse.

“The thing that he always does is, with our water table, is he dips his whole face into it, so I’m actually surprised he didn’t do that because the bottom of the slide, where it was, there was a good amount of it collected there,” Thielen said. “I was surprised he didn’t start splashing in it.”

The town of Longmeadow said that the hazardous materials have been cleaned up, but more cleaning crews are expected to be on site throughout the week. The playground area of Bliss Park will remain closed out of an abundance of caution.