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Arson suspected in Plymouth playground equipment fire

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It hadn't even been installed yet, but an early Friday morning fire destroyed brand new playground equipment in Plymouth. The fire did an estimated $200,000 in damage and authorities suspect it's the work of an arsonist.

Plymouth Fire Chief Richard Kline told told KARE 11 his crews received the call around 2:20 a.m. Friday. He said by the time trucks arrived the new playground equipment was completely engulfed in flames.

KSTP reports the equipment is not salvageable.

It was scheduled to be installed on Friday and was purchased to replace playground equipment that was removed this week to be shipped to Africa for use in two different cities.

According to the Star Tribune, the playground equipment cost between $80,000 and $130,000. It included a 14-foot sky tower with a climbing wall, slides, swings, a sandbox and a kids treehouse.

Barb Northway, the deputy director of the city's Park and Recreation Department told the newspaper it might be October before the city can purchase and install new equipment.

"It's a strike against our youngest residents. It's really sad," she said. "There's always someone at that park. It's maddening someone would take that opportunity away."

Kline told KARE that fire personnel remained on the scene for about 2 1/2 hours to make sure the fire didn't rekindle.

The state fire marshal is assisting Plymouth police with the investigation. Police are hopeful someone will come forward with information.

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