WASHINGTON - There have been three different playground arson fires in the past week in the D.C. and Northern Virginia areas – no arrests have been made for any of them.
The most recent fire was in the Petworth area in Northwest, D.C. on Tuesday – the playground was engulfed in flames. The fire was so intense it sent thick black smoke into that air – the smoke could be seen from miles away. The fire was so large that additional equipment had to be sent to the scene in the 4300 block of 13th Street in order to get water on the blaze since the fire was some distance from a hydrant. When the fire was finally extinguished the damage was estimated to be around 25 grand, according to officials.
"Our real concern is that this is a place where families and children congregate, so we want to bring this case to a closure as soon as possible so we are actively pursuing it,” said Mark Wynn, a Deputy Fire Chief and the Fire Marshall for DC Fire and EMS. Wynn says there's no evidence an accelerant was used but it's unclear how the fire was set.
There are several schools in the area that are equipped with surveillance cameras and investigators will be accessing those cameras in a search for leads.
Just last week, a playground was set on fire in Fairfax behind Lees Corner Elementary School causing a little over $16,000 in damage. Then, on October 10 another playground was set ablaze at Greenbriar Elementary School in Chantilly, causing $35,000 in damage. The fire in Chantilly was set at 5:40 p.m. while the one at Lees Corner Elementary School was set at 10:26 p.m.
There is a reward of up to $1,000 for information in these cases, according to officials.
While these arson fires are concerning, they are not new to the area. There have been several playground fires in recent years, including one in Kensington’s Saint Paul Park two years ago.