WEST Wodonga children no longer have a playground after a fire there — apparently deliberately lit — destroyed equipment on Saturday night.
Firefighters found the equipment alight after they were called to the playground, behind the shops on the corner of Felltimber Creek Road and Barton Street, about 11.30pm.
Heat from the burning bark in the play area was enough to melt the slide. Repairs are expected to cost thousands of dollars.
It took 15 minutes for up to nine firefighters from Wodonga West and Wodonga stations to control the blaze.
Police then cordoned-off the area to investigate.
Police yesterday said the cause of the fire was suspicious.
They urged anyone who may have seen something on Saturday night or who had any information to contact them.
West Wodonga seven-year-old Blake Glover was walking his two dogs with mother, Sheridan Ingram, near the park yesterday afternoon.
The playground was still cordoned-off and the smell of burnt plastic remained strong.
Mrs Ingram said the park was the only one her children used because it was well-kept in a relatively safe area.
“It’s the only park we can use because the park near our house is where bottles are smashed and the grass is overgrown,” she said.
“The only one they can play at is this one,” she said.
Mrs Ingram said the damage meant the area’s children had fewer options for outdoor play.
“It’s so sad for the kids. There’s nothing to do here,” she said.
Blake, a Wodonga Primary School pupil, was disappointed.
“It’s sad because the other people can’t play on it,” he said.
Wodonga council director of community development Debra Mudra said the damage bill could cost the council thousands of dollars.
“It’s just unfortunate,” Ms Mudra said.
She said council officers would assess the damage today to determine how long it would take to re-build the playground.
“It is quite a well-used playground. There will be some disruption,” she said.
Anyone with information can pass it on to police anonymously by phoning the Wodonga Police Station on (02) 6049 2600 or Crime Stoppers on 1800 333 000.