A playground fire at Martin Luther King Jr. Elementary School in Huntsville has people in the community shocked, and the district with thousands of dollars worth of damage to repair.
The spokesperson for Huntsville City Schools, Craig Williams, says Tuesday morning, the campus security officer discovered a smoldering fire on the playground. After reviewing surveillance footage, the school saw people playing with matches near the playground on Monday just before the fire started.
The fire only damaged the turf in one area of the playground, but according to Williams, repairs will have to be made to the entire playground, which will cost the district at least $10,000 to repair.
Grandparents told WAAY 31 they’re shocked this happened, with one even saying it's terrible somebody would do this. Williams says he's not sure if the person responsible meant to set the fire, and the incident is currently being investigated by the district and Huntsville police.
"Regardless of how the fire started, it shouldn't have happened. Events like this, they disrupt the school day. They disrupt the playground. They disrupt the teaching environment that we maintain every single day at Huntsville City Schools," Williams said.
Williams says at this point in the investigation, he is not able to say if they were able to identify who set the fire on their surveillance footage, but wanted to assure the community the incident is not being taken lightly.
“Acts like this won’t be tolerated. We take a lot of pride in our school buildings. We take a lot of pride in maintaining a safe and healthy atmosphere for our students. Incidents like this won’t be tolerated," Williams said.
Williams says they will work to repair the damage as quickly as possible. This was the second fire set in the playground area in just a matter of months. In January, a trash can was also set on fire just feet away from where the recent fire occurred.