TUCSON, Ariz. (KOLD News 13) - Lynn-Urquides Elementary is looking for answers after their student’s playground was destroyed.
“So first was shock and then anger that someone would do this to my elementary kiddos,” says principal Marisa Salcido.
When she discovered the playground’s damage, all she thought about were her students. While some students are doing in-person learning now, the majority will return next month.
Salcido says the children “were very sad knowing they will be on time, full-time come March and they don’t have play equipment to play on.”
The fire destroyed a play gym with a rock climbing and rope climbing wall. Burn marks were also found under another piece of equipment where fire melted a set of stairs leading to a slide.
The Tucson Police Department says right now they believe the fire was intentionally set. Currently there are no suspects and there is no estimate dollar amount on the damage.
Around the playground we did find some evidence that others could be using the area. Under the melted stairs we found a cigarette butt. A little further away there was an empty sparkler box and some broken glass.
“We’re not sure if someone was trying to stay warm with a fire or people were here trying to stay on their own, trying to party on their own and maybe a fire got out of hand because it had to burn really hot to burn down the entire play structure,” Salcido explained.
Crews arrived earlier today to clear the damaged equipment. Principal Salcido says she is unsure when the play gym will be replaced. Until then, recess will look a little different. Teachers will have to get creative trying new activities.
Salcido hopes they will be able to get a new play gym before the students come back in March. As of now, it’s unclear how much it will cost the school to get another playground in a short amount of time.
TPD says this is an ongoing investigation. If you have any information on the fire, you can call 88-CRIME.