Updated at 2:55 p.m.: A D.C. Department of Parks and Recreation (DPR) spokeswoman sent us the following statement regarding the firetruck:
The D.C. Department of Parks and Recreation (DPR) was informed that there was a piece of playground equipment (the firetruck playground equipment) that could be hazardous. DPR’s Risk Management Department went to the site to inspect the equipment.
Upon arrival, they noticed the piece of equipment was not there. DPR researched internally to see if the equipment was removed and also reached out to our sister agency – Department of General Services (DGS) to see if they had removed the equipment. Neither DGS nor DPR removed the firetruck playground equipment. MPD has been notified.
Neither DPR nor DGS removes equipment without notifying the community.
DPR has contacted the vendor, which supplied the original beloved firetruck playground equipment. We are researching the cost and availability of firetruck playground equipment.
Read our original story below:
Who took the beloved firetruck equipment from Walter Pierce Park’s playground? It’s a question that’s currently perplexing locals in Adams Morgan.
The firetruck disappeared from a corner of the park sometime last week, according to neighbor Mindy Moretti:
Has anyone seen me? I went missing sometime last week (most likely Friday). I miss my home in Walter Pierce Park!!! pic.twitter.com/kv2GmKuLq4
— Mindy Moretti (@mindymoretti) August 23, 2016
The spot where the truck once sat was bare when a Borderstan reporter visited Walter Pierce earlier today.
Though it’s just a piece of playground equipment, the truck means a lot to the surrounding community, Moretti told us. Neighbors paid for and built the playground equipment in 2000, and since its installation, it’s been one of the park’s most popular attractions, she said.
“The firetruck is very much apart of our neighborhood,” Moretti added. “It was hugely popular.”
Since the truck’s disappearance, locals have scrambled to learn its whereabouts, even going so far as to jokingly photoshop its image on a milk carton.
Was the firetruck stolen? It’s possible, tweeted Jackie Stanley, outreach coordinator at the D.C. Department of General Services (DGS):
— Jackie Stanley (@JackieDGS) August 22, 2016
Despite Stanley’s tweet, D.C. Police told us today they haven’t yet received a call about the vanished vehicle.
Does Ward 1 D.C. Councilmember Brianne Nadeau know what happened to the truck? Apparently not. Though Moretti and Nadeau briefly chatted about the playground equipment today, Moretti said Nadeau didn’t have any information to share.
So, we asked Nadeau’s office. What happened? Could someone really have stolen it?
“We can’t confirm anything at this point but we’re working to get to the bottom of it and to ensure it gets returned,” a representative for the councilmember told us in response. “It’s a beloved part of the park and there are a lot of parents and kids who are interested in seeing it back in place.”
Still, Moretti said she thinks The Case of the Missing Firetruck is likely just a big miscommunication. After all, unless you’re one of Carmen Sandiego’s henchmen, it’s not an easy feat to swipe a heavy piece of playground equipment.
Even if a city agency took it in for repairs, though, a little notice would have been nice, Moretti said.
“We’re still unclear where it is, if it’s getting fixed, when it’s coming back,” she explained. “If people had just bothered to send an email, post a sign in the park, anything, that would have saved a lot of consternation, anger, angst, everything.”
And so, the mystery continues.