It took five days for workers to install the new slide at the Piñon Elementary School.
It took less than five minutes, though, for all that work to go up in flames.
Superintendent Gene Schmidt announced the school district has posted a $1,000 reward for information leading to the identification of the person(s) responsible for the vandalism to the Piñon playground.
Police and the fire department responded to a call of a fire on the Piñon playground.
At approximately 1:28 a.m. Thursday, which was also the first day of school, a report from a resident was called in to Fire Station 3. Police officers Corporal Sheldon Simpson, Detective Joey Robinson, and firefighters from Engine 10 responded and extinguished the fire within minutes.
No structures were damaged; however, the recently installed “big toy” slide on the upper playground was badly damaged. The slide, made of plastic, melted and excessive burn marks could be seen.
Principal Jill Gonzales, who arrived at the scene at around 2:30 a.m. said when she arrived the arson investigator already was there.
“The top priority is to get this replaced,” Gonzales said.
Schmidt said, “It saddens me this senseless, mean-spirited act disrupted the first day for students.”