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Valley community wants answers after park playground torched overnight

Posted at 9:55 PM, Dec 05, 2017
and last updated 2017-12-06 09:47:00-05

A Valley community's playground was torched overnight, and now the residents want answers. 

The Fireside Norterra community playground, near the I-17 and Jomax Road, went up in flames around 10:30 p.m. Monday.  

According to the Phoenix Fire Department, there's no obvious ignition source or electricity on the playground, and the cause of the fire is under investigation. 

But several neighbors told ABC15 that there were charred wood chips found at the playground a week ago. Some believe that an arsonist tried to start the fire at that time. 

"I'm really sad and really angry actually," said Christi McClanahan, who lives with her family across the street from the park. "My husband smelled the smoke and we heard the sirens and ran upstairs to look out the back window to see our park on fire."

If a criminal element is determined, this would be a first for the close-knit community.

Eric Rinehart is on the HOA board and said they've been working with firefighting advocate groups to offer a $10,000 reward for information on the fire. 

"I feel violated. You know, concerned," said Rinehart. 

If you know anything about the fire, please call the arson hotline at 1-800-352-7766.