Scarborough playground fire probed as possible arson
St. Agatha Catholic Elementary School play area fully engulfed in flames Tuesday
Toronto police are investigating another possible arson of a Scarborough elementary school playground after it became fully engulfed in flames late Tuesday afternoon.
Firefighters responded to the scene at St. Agatha Catholic School near St. Clair Ave East and Kingston Road at 4:30 p.m.
Police in 43 Division said they were treating the fire as a possible arson, but they have few details on suspects or how the fire may have started.
The loss of a beloved playground was devastating for children attending St. Agatha.
Ciara Rafter and her classmates were stunned to see the blackened remains of their former play area. All that was left of the slide was a melted, twisted mess.
'Is that really my playground?'
"When I saw the picture my mom showed me, I was like, is that really my playground?" she said.
The schoolyard fixture was made possible thanks to nearly $60,000 in donations from parents, said Michelle Delzotto, a mother who helped organize the fundraising effort.
"It was over a period of three years. We did everything from bake sales to raffles," she said. "It is very frustrating to see [that] someone would do this."
On a positive note, the Toronto Catholic District School Board confirmed that an insurance claim has been filed, and the losses are expected to be covered, although it's not clear how long it will take to rebuild the play area. The students and their parents hope it will be up in time for the new school year.
If the claim comes up short, the community is willing to pitch in again.
Another playground torched in May
Ward 36 Scarborough Southwest Coun. Gary Crawford took to Twitter to voice his disgust at the presumed act of vandalism.
"Ya really gotta wonder what kind of idiot would torch a kids playground," he tweeted.
Crawford said he had visited the school and will attempt to contact the local school trustee.
In early May, a playground fire at Mary Shadd Public School near Finch Avenue East and Nielson Road destroyed a $20,000 play area that was installed a year earlier.
It had taken the Malvern community five years to raise the funds to build the structure.
Toronto police arrested an 18-year-old, a 19-year-old and a 17-year-old young offender later that month and charged them with arson.
With files from CBC's Charlsie Agro