Destroyed play area upsets children

19:15, Nov 26 2012
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The playground at Fernworth School in Invercargill was set alight early on Monday morning.

A suspicious fire at an Invercargill primary school playground has horrified pupils and teachers, its principal says.

Fernworth Primary School principal Anne Walker said she was shocked when police phoned her early yesterday morning to tell her about the fire next to the Pomona St school.

The Kingswell fire brigade attended the blaze at 3.25am yesterday.

Mrs Walker suspected vandals were responsible for destroying the play area, which was also used by children in the community outside of school hours.

"A fire does not light itself at 3am in the morning."

She said although the children had other areas to play in, the adventure playground was their favourite place.

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"The children were really upset and horrified when they arrived at school and saw the charred playground," she said.

She was not sure how long it would take before the playground would reopen.

A decision would be made soon by the board of trustees, she said.

In the meantime, the burnt wreckage would be pulled down and what could be salvaged would be made safe.

Whatever happened, the school would be out of pocket, she said.

Southern fire communications shift supervisor Tim Reynolds said the fire had almost destroyed the playground.

Specialist fire investigator Michael Cahill said the fire burned a large section of wooden adventure play area.

He said the fire was being treated as suspicious and he had handed it over to police to investigate.

The Southland Times