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Youth charged in pouring acid on slides, burning Mass. children

Muriatic acid was stolen from a pool building and poured on slides at a Longmeadow playground


Bliss Park & Pool in Longmeadow

John Beattie

By Ryan Mancini

LONGMEADOW, Mass. — Two children were criminally charged on Wednesday after a Hampden County Grand Jury returned indictments in connection with a June incident at Bliss Park in Longmeadow where acid was poured down several slides, injuring four children, Hampden District Attorney Anthony Gulluni’s office announced Thursday.

The two children were both charged with assault and battery on a child with injury (four counts), assault and battery with a dangerous weapon (four counts) and vandalism, Gulluni’s office said in a statement.

Authorities were called on Sunday at 9:40 a.m. after the children were hurt using the slide at the playground, resulting in “burn-like injuries,” the fire department said in a news release. Firefighters quickly found the hazardous substance on three slides and determined it to be an acid.

[PREVIOUSLY: Muriatic acid on Mass. playground slides burned children]

Muriatic acid stolen from a nearby pool building was poured on the slides at the playground, according to the Longmeadow Fire Department. The acid is typically used as a cleaning product. Investigators found that a pump room in the basement of a pool building nearby had been broken into. Two fences were climbed and a cover to the ventilation shaft was torn off to enter the pool room, which housed the muriatic acid.

A 1-year-old boy was one of the children burned by the slides. Ashley Thielen told MassLive that her son “normally doesn’t cry. I couldn’t get him to stop, and his bottom was all wet.” Both of Thielen’s children suffered burns.

After Thielen’s she came to her crying, she noticed the sleeve of her shirt, which her child was sitting on, was sticky. When she tugged on the sleeve, it tore wide open because the “chemical burned right through it.” It was then her 2-year-old daughter started crying and saying “Mommy, it hurts” while pointing to the back of her leg.

At the time, Thielen and emergency services were unsure of what the substance was, so a thorough physical evaluation of the kids and an electrocardiogram (EKG) was done, along with a quick pH test, which came back “very acidic” according to Thielen.

After a few days of healing, Thielen said her daughter’s wound “looks like a big abrasion [and] it’s healing like it’s supposed to.”

Longmeadow police and fire officials, along with Massachusetts State Police detectives assigned to Gulluni’s office, investigated “this shocking and terrible incident,” Gulluni said in a statement.

“Our collective effort to charge those we believe are responsible should make clear that protecting this community’s children is among our highest priorities,” Gulluni said. “Whether the threat and harm caused were intended as pranks or malicious acts, it will not be tolerated.”

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