Arson blamed in school playground fire

Damages estimated at $75,000+

SAN ANTONIO – The high flames and black smoke from Monday night's playground fire at Adams Elementary at 135 E. Southcross had disappeared into the quiet heat of Tuesday afternoon.

But the parking lot was filled with a steady stream of parents and children driving up to survey the damage done.

"I think whoever did it, it's just wrong for all the kids that are going to be here," said Nathalie Jewell, who's getting ready to enter 5th grade at Adams.

"It's really sad that somebody would do that," said Eric Bonar, a playground safety specialist who stopped by to assess the damage.

"They've taken a playground away from these kids. We have kids here at the school today who didn't get an opportunity to play out here because of this."

District police saw a pair of middle school-aged boys on the playground just before the fire started Monday night. While most of Harlandale ISD's playgrounds are open during the day, this one has no outside access during the summer.

"They came and broke open the gate and somehow set fire to the playground and because of the wind, it just pushed the fire across the playground and damaged most of it," said district spokesperson Leslie Garza.

Early damage estimates came in at $75,000 but Garza said they could go much higher. Adams Elementary has the largest enrollment of the district's primary schools, serving over 800 students.

"I hope they're able to help the kids who did it understand what damage they caused not only to the playground itself but to the community and the kids," said Bonar.

"I hope they really punish them to the full extent," said parent Michelle Dixon. "They don't know how many people they're actually hurting doing all this."

The district is hopeful that the playground will be replaced in time for the first day of school.

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