2 teens urged to make contact after another playground fire

CRIME SCENE: Police at the scene on Thursday morning. Picture: BLAIR THOMSON
CRIME SCENE: Police at the scene on Thursday morning. Picture: BLAIR THOMSON

TWO teenagers seen near the site of another playground fire are being urged to contact Wodonga detectives.

The Gordon Craig Park play area was targeted about 1am on Thursday, leaving a slide destroyed and other damage.

The playground, with the exception of the swings, will have to be removed as a result of the damage, which is estimated to be more than $30,000.

Detective Sergeant Graeme Simpfendorfer said the pair, thought to be about 13, were on a bike and scooter.

"We believe at this stage there were two young children in the area at the time,” he said.

“We're pretty keen to speak to them.”

The incident is being treated as arson and police believe accelerants were used.

It’s unclear if the two youths were involved, but police are keen to chat to them about what they witnessed.

“We’ve got two young kids out at 1am in the morning,” he said.

“Whether they’re involved in this, time will tell.

“But certainly we want to catch up with them and see what they did see at 1am.”

A passing driver noticed the flames and called Triple-0.

Firefighters extinguished the flames, which appeared to have started on a slide.

While the slide appeared to have been the only section damaged, council acting chief executive Debra Mudra said the entire structure would have to be replaced.

"This kind of damage not only means a cost to council and the community but it also impacts on our many families with young children and limits their access to outdoor play spaces in our city," Ms Mudra said.

"The council has more than 70 parks and playgrounds across the city which provide safe spaces for our residents, parents, grandparents and young children to get outside, exercise and have fun.

"It's disappointing that this unnecessary damage means some families won't get to enjoy this space for the holidays.”

Detective Sergeant Simpfendorfer said fire could be unpredictable with the potential to spread.

“Thankfully no lives were put at risk,” he said.

“But the next fire, unfortunately, could be one that really gets away from us.

“We’re thankful for the work the CFA do and it helps us with our investigations.

“Continually we seem to be here time and time again with senseless acts of arson.”

It was too early to say if the recent playground fires were linked, he said. 

Anyone with information can call (02) 6049 2600 or 1800 333 000.