Kiddie Park closed after bear spray discharged on playground

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The playground equipment at Kiddie Park had caution tape around it Thursday afternoon. (Heidi Desch/Whitefish Pilot)

The Whitefish Police Department is investigating an incident that forced the closure of the Kiddie Park Thursday after bear spray was discharged on playground equipment and in the restrooms.

Assistant Police Chief Bridger Kelch said the incident occurred sometime late Wednesday night or early Thursday morning and was reported after children began playing at the park.

“Kids started having a reaction to it,” he said. “Some parents took their kids to the ER because they didn’t know what it was.”

Kelch said there were no serious injuries reported, but that pepper spray does “burn and itch” when people come into contact with it.

The police department received its first call about the bear spray at about 10 a.m. and the city Parks and Recreation was notified immediately.

“They closed it with caution tape and started to power wash it,” Kelch said. “They will keep it closed tonight and likely power wash it again tomorrow.”

Kelch noted that the person or persons involved could be charged with felony criminal mischief because of the cost of the labor and equipment to clean the park. There was no permanent damage done to the park.

Kiddie Park is located near the south end of Central Avenue.

The police department is looking for any information related to the incident or who may have caused it. Call the Whitefish Police Department at 863-2420.

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