Two School Playgrounds Damaged in Arson Fires

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Playgrounds at two Sacramento schools in the last week, the school district said Wednesday.

A fire started late Wednesday night last week at the John Sloat Elementary playground, causing so much damage that the entire structure had to be removed from campus, according to Sacramento City Unified School District Safe Schools Manager Tracey Lopez.

The playground at Caroline Wenzel Elementary was burned the following night. Lopez says the damage was not as severe as the John Sloat fire, but the playground will still have to be torn down.

Fire investigators say both fires were set intentionally.

The two fires will prove costly for the district. Spokesman Gabe Ross says the district’s insurance deductible is $25,000 per fire. Playgrounds usually cost at least $70,000, Ross said in a news release.

School in the district starts Sept. 3. John Sloat and Caroline Wenzel will open that day, but it’s unlikely that the playgrounds will be replaced by then.

District officials want neighbors to keep an eye on nearby schools and report suspicious activity.

Anyone with information about the two playground fires should call Sacramento Fire Department arson investigators at (916) 808-8732.

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