Children, parents and neighbours of the Dr. Thomas A. Swift Elementary School community in Abbotsford were dismayed to find much of the school's playground in charred ruins on Sunday, July 15.
Abbotsford's police and fire departments were alerted by neighbours reporting the playground was engulfed in flames around 4: 25 a.m.
Much of the playground equipment, including a large climbing wall and glider, was destroyed while the heat of the blaze damaged other parts of the structure. In places, the only remnant of equipment was a series of metal ribs extending up from the scorched ground.
Dave Stephen, spokesman for Abbotsford School District, said damage estimates could be in excess of $25,000.
"This is an extremely disappointing and shocking act of vandalism that takes away a community and school play area from children," said Stephen.
"It's especially hurtful as the playground was developed to ensure children in wheelchairs could have access to a playground."
Later that summer APD led an effort to rebuild the structure.