Police call playground fire arson
by Denise Ellen Rizzo
Sep 24, 2012 | 3028 views | 2 2 comments | 6 6 recommendations | email to a friend | print
A Tracy Fire crewman pours water on the burning rock climbing wall in the North School playground on Monday, Sept. 3.  Glenn Moore/Tracy Press
A Tracy Fire crewman pours water on the burning rock climbing wall in the North School playground on Monday, Sept. 3. Glenn Moore/Tracy Press
The blaze that destroyed a children’s climbing wall on the North School campus Sept. 3 has been deemed arson by Tracy Police Department officials.

According to Detective Jim Harries, surveillance video from a nearby campus camera shows someone setting the playground equipment on fire.

“Definitely an arson,” he said. “You can see somebody walk up and light it (on fire).”

The fire, reported at 11:16 p.m. Sept. 3, destroyed a faux rock climbing wall that the school purchased eight years ago for the playground used by students in first through third grades.

Harries said the video shows a silhouette of a person, but he noted that it was too dark to determine if it was a man or woman setting the fire. He said the investigation is ongoing, and no suspects were identified as of Sept. 20.

North School Principal Frederick Medina said district officials hope the main pillars can be salvaged — the greatest damage is to the wall’s plastic side panels.

If only some parts need to be replaced replacement parts, Medina anticipates the cost to be about $5,000. He estimated replacing the entire structure would cost between $7,000 and $10,000.

Medina added that Bill Willner, Tracy Unified School District’s director of maintenance, is checking if the company that manufactured the wall can provide replacement parts.

Medina said many North School parents have offered to donate money or organize fundraisers.

“It’s been pretty nice to see the response from the community,” he said. “One dad called and said his company could donate money. People are asking me lots of questions, and they want to help out.”

Tracy Crime Stoppers pledges a reward for information leading to the arrest of those responsible. Anonymous tips to the police can be made by calling 831-4847 or 831-4847.

Comments-icon Post a Comment
September 24, 2012
Sounds like your surveillance cameras are not worth the money that was spent on them. It took you this long to say it was arson! Better bump up your security incase this ediot comes back for more. It's nice to see the parents come through with some much needed cash to help with the replacement. Maybe the School district could do the same.
September 24, 2012
It's very sad.

When I read the first article I knew something sounded fishy. Fires don't start by themselves without having all the necessary elements.

Unfortunately, in this case, a pyromania was the missing element. Very sad.

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