With just a few days before school restarts, students at one Beamsville public school will not have a playground.
Niagara Regional Police confirmed they were called out to Jacob Beam Public School in Lincoln on Aug. 23 for a reported fire at the playground.
An investigation revealed the fire started sometime between 10 and 10:15 a.m.
Lincoln deputy fire chief Bill Blake told Niagara this Week that when they arrived they found a medium-sized playground structure well involved in fire.
“Crews extinguished the fire quickly with no exposure damage or injury,” he said. “The cause of origin was undetermined.”
Damage is estimated to be more than $50,000.
Milica Petkovic, communications officer for the District School Board of Niagara, said the playground will not be functional by the time school starts, but that the board will be advancing the funds for replacement as soon as possible.
“We are working closely with our facilities department and insurance provider to assess the damage and ensure that the area is safe for students returning to school,” she said. “Though the playground will not be functional, please be assured that the schoolyard will be safe for students as they return to school on September 5th.”
Becky McMahon, a Beamsville parent, is disappointed to hear about the vandalism, as her daughter is set to start school this year.
“It’s such a shame,” she said. “It’s definitely disheartening. I hope they find out who did this.”
A teacher herself, McMahon said she knows how much kids love playgrounds.
While there are no suspects at this time, officers are looking to speak with two potential witnesses that were seen in the area around the time of the fire.
Police said they are looking for two girls, described as white, and approximately 16 to 18 years old. One had long blond hair, and was wearing a hooded sweatshirt.
According to police, they were seen entering a maroon-coloured sedan.
Area residents are asked to review their surveillance footage. Anyone with information is asked to contact the investigating officer by dialing 905-688-4111, option 3, extension 1009749 or Crime Stoppers Niagara at 1-800-222-TIPS.
Abby Green, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Grimsby Lincoln News