Authorities are seeking a single arsonist or group of arsonists that lit the brand-new playground at the Bradley School on Beachview Road on fire over the weekend. Boston Police and the Boston Fire Department investigated the cause of the fire and believe it was the result of arson. Now authorities are scouring the neighborhood in search of those responsible.
“We’re never the victims of vandalism here,” said Bradley Principal Anne Kelly. “This is so sad because the parents and community worked so hard to bring the new playground here.”
The construction of the playground at the school was the result of years of planning and fundraising through the city’s schoolyard initiative. At the beginning of the school year last year, the Mayor, residents, school staff and students cut the ribbon on the schoolyard and celebrated the competition of the hard work of all involved.
“This is really the community’s playground, not just the school’s,” said Kelly.
Since the beginning of the school year trouble began brewing at the schoolyard. First, the school’s dumpster was torched a few times forcing the school to move its location. Then vandals began setting fire to school’s trash barrels and breaking the flood lights that illuminate the yard during non-school hours. Then, last week the vandals became more brazen and set fire to a slide at the playground.
“I think last weekend they came to finish the job,” said Kelley.
Last weekend’s blaze completely destroyed the playground’s jungle gym and nearly set fire to surrounding trees.
The blaze was so intense that it completely melted a slide, climbing frame, platform, and the rubber foam under the jungle gym. Flames were so high that the trees above the jungle gym caught fire.
“Thank God the fire department got here when they did because there are homes on the other side of the tree line,” said Kelley.
Kelley said the Boston Police and Fire Department are taking the case of arson at the school very seriously and have agreed to her request of extra patrols around the school at night.
As far as the playground, Kelley said the City of Boston would have had to insure it so once the investigation is over she hopes the school can get another jungle gym.
“Right now we have to keep caution tape around what remains because it is a hazard,” she said.
Any one with information leading to the capture of those responsible should contact District 7 at 617-343-4220. People with information will remain anonymous.