Clovis Playground Fires

6/20/2008 Fresno, CA Last week somebody set fire to the playground equipment, melting the slide, and causing other damage. It's not the first fire like this in Clovis, and the Fire Department is asking for help in finding out who's responsible.

Neighborhood resident Wes Hammond had this to say on seeing the damage for the first time. "I'm speechless. I mean, why, what's the point? It's just mind boggling. It's brand new. It's just been in three or four months. That is just an absolute waste."

The Clovis Fire Department said a match or lighter was used to ignite the rubber mulch on the ground. The fire then spread to the plastic playground equipment, burning and melting it.

The City of Clovis hopes to begin repair work soon. This is just the latest attack on playground equipment. One month earlier another playground at Browning and Park was set on fire.

There have been a total of 7 playground fires in the past three years. Clovis Fire Department spokesperson Chad Fitzgerald said arson investigators are looking at all of them, but said, "At this point there is no clear pattern that connects any of these fires that we've had together."

Four of the 7 fires have occurred in city parks. Three others have been at school playgrounds.

Janie Peterson is a high school student who lives in the neighborhood and says she hangs out in the park often with her friends. She says," It's just kind of disappointing that someone would do this. Because it's just really disappointing that someone would sink that low."

Total damage from all seven fires is around $200,000 thousand dollars. The Fire Department is still looking for suspects in all of the fires, and they are hoping the public can help.

The Fire Department is asking residents who live near parks to keep a close watch on who's in the park, and report anything suspicious to the police.

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