Official: Juveniles started wildfire at county park

Smoke billowed from one of Ottawa County’s parks Tuesday evening, but it wasn’t from a scheduled burn.
Becky Vargo
May 7, 2014


Officials said two juvenile boys discovered in the area admitted to having a part in the fire, which was discovered just before 7 p.m. by a man walking his dog.

About six acres of swamp burned at Connor Bayou County Park as firefighters from two departments worked around swirling wind and ponds of water to protect park structures from the blaze.

Robinson Township Fire Chief Paul VanVelzen said the fire was contained to the marsh area east of the parking lot, in between the trails.

“We used water cans and the Polaris,” the chief said about getting to the fire. “We stretched water lines off the other trucks.”

A fire truck also responded to a home to the east of the park. VanVelzen said fire was encroaching on the house.

Ottawa County Parks and Recreation Director John Scholtz confirmed there wasn’t any damage to any structures in the park.

“Did it harm anything at the park? No,” he said.

“Obviously we don’t like the idea of people setting fires in the parks,” he added. “It’s worrisome.”

Firefighters were on the scene for more than two hours.

Grand Haven Township Fire and Rescue assisted.



Just another reason why people with kids should pay more taxes not less than someone with no kids. Giving parents with dependents a write off is wrong. Who's kids are burning the parks, getting a free education, vandalizing the neighborhood, getting a free school lunch, not the guy with no kids! More kids should equate to more taxes because of the costs they inflict on society. Maybe we should learn a lesson from Singapore taxes increase with your dependents, not decrease!


Higher taxes are not going to solve anything. Real discipline is the only way. No more of this slap on the wrist stuff, real punishment that is swift and severe. There are no consequences for anyone anymore. Everyone gets off with a plea deal or some lame community service project. I say go back to hard labor and we will see crime drop, in adults and kids. People these days know nothing is going to happen to them. No more "country club" living with free medical, and your choice of meals, you get what we serve or go hungry. No more TV in jail, no more luxuries of the outside world. These people are supposed to be being punished, not rewarded for their crimes.

And I don't want to hear the libs pop in and say that is cruel and inhumane. Well these people aren't acting like humans when they commit these crimes. And they will never learn anything from being cuddled when they are in jail.


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