Phoenix playground for kids with special needs destroyed by fire

Phoenix adaptive playground destroyed by fire
Posted at 6:49 PM, Jun 06, 2018
and last updated 2018-06-07 22:47:37-04

An investigation is underway after a fire charred playground equipment at a summer camp for children with special needs in Phoenix. 

According to officials from the Arizona Recreation Center for the Handicapped, children and staff found their playground area destroyed by fire as they showed up to camp on Tuesday. 

“It was amazing, it was like a big experience for everyone to enjoy the playground so much,” said Estevan Lopez, who attends summer camp at ARCH. 

Center officials say the fire happened after hours on Monday evening. 

According to a spokesperson from the Phoenix Fire Department, fire investigators responded to the scene, near 15th Avenue and Camelback Road, to collect samples for any possible accelerants that may have been used. 

At this time, fire officials say the cause of the fire is undetermined as investigators wait for lab results. 

ARCH officials say they had raised money to add the adaptive playground to the back of the building in a previously unused space. 

“This has been such a blow at the end of what has been a hugely positive year for us at ARCH. The playground was part of our ‘Get Out and Play’ initiative to encourage more physical activity and health and well-being in our children and youth. We were so pleased with it once it was finished. It was so vibrant and colorful," said Kip Murray, ARCH Executive Director, as part of a statement. 

A GoFundMe has since been set up for rebuilding efforts. Head here for more information on ARCH

“It’s heartbreaking because the kids were so excited when we got this,” said Vera Martinez, Program Director for ARCH. “It’s devastating because that was the first thing they’d come to.”

If anyone has any information on the fire, they are asked to call the Phoenix Fire Department.