Playground torched near Jewel Lake
The Anchorage School District said it could cost as much as $250,000 to replace everything that burned in a playground fire Monday night at Gladys Wood Elementary School in Jewel Lake.
The fire, which was called in around 10:30 p.m., is being investigated as arson.
Two engines responded and put the fire out in less than 10 minutes. No injuries were reported.
The flames burned a large piece of playground equipment, leaving charred wood and plastic behind. One slide had a hole in the center where the plastic had literally melted into the ground.
Tom Roth is the district's chief financial officer. He said the piece of equipment will need to be replaced, along with parts of the special foundation it sits on. He said the price tag is still being evaluated but, in any case, it isn't money the district has lying around.
"It's not like the district has a pot of money to fix playground structures," said Roth. "So, when he have to pay for repair and replacement, it's coming out of the classroom."
For Gladys Wood Principal Cindy Hemry, the loss feels almost personal. This is the second time her school has experienced a playground fire. The people who did it last time were never caught-- and the equipment cost about $125,000 to replace.
"I just think it's got to be a couple of kids who aren't invested in our neighborhood and our community and don't care," said Hemry.
The district has surveillance video that shows several teenagers at the playground before the fire started. Roth said police are reviewing that now.
He believes that someone in the public has information about who did it and he's urging them to come forward.
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