Vandals attack school's playground

Kapiti school dismayed at $5000 of damage

KAROLINE TUCKEY
Last updated 17:33 31/03/2014
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KAPITI OBSERVER
UNIMPRESSED: Mana Reti-Taiapa, and Jacob Tobin, both year 8, are not impressed at vandals who burned down one of Kapiti Primary School’s climbing frames.

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Children and staff at Kapiti Primary School are puzzled as to why anyone would want to burn down part of their playground.

On Saturday night firefighters attended a suspicious fire at the back of the school.

A wooden climbing frame had been set alight and the flames spread to rubber padding underneath the play area.

Paraparaumu Fire Brigade station officer Steve Hudson said three 111 calls were received soon after 7pm to report the fire.

The frame set alight was about 2.5m high, and the flames covered about 15 square metres when they reached the scene.

''It was quite a substantial fire involving the children's play area, and the rubber matting around that area was burning quite seriously.''

Firefighters had to wear breathing apparatus at the scene due to fumes from the matting.

Board chairperson Warren Herlihy said the incident had bewildered both adults and children from the school.

''We try and do things for the community, we opened up to the [Sustainable Home &] Garden show last week, and then somebody comes along and treats the school like that, it's very very disappointing.

''I know there'll be a lot of disappointed children not being able to play in that part of the playground.''

The climbing frame is now out of bounds behind ropes, and quotes are being sought to consider repair options.

The damage could cost up to $5000.

''The repairs for those sort of things come out of school funds, and generally schools don't have a lot of money to repair thoughtless vandalism like that,'' Herlihy said.

This is the worst vandalism of any type that we've had while I've been on the board for 15 or 16 years.''

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