Playground arson reward hits $11,000

June 19, 2012 2:40:58 PM PDT
It's unfortunate when a place of play burns down. It's even worse when someone does it on purpose.

"This was not just some random act of vandalism. This was an act of evil," said Philadelphia Mayor Michael Nutter (D), as he stood with local officials in front of the torched playground in FDR Park and vowed to catch the culprits who did this.

"I can assure you that we will find the individual or individuals who did this. They will be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law. they should hope that I never find them myself before the police."

The Philadelphia Fire Department responded to FDR Park in South Philadelphia around 9:25 Sunday night and found the playground ablaze. It was constructed in October 2011 and cost an estimated $300,000 and included unique equipment some of it accessible to kids with disabilities. Kids and parents said it was unlike other playgrounds - the best around - and they were sad and angry to see it burned beyond repair

Mayor Nutter vowed to fix this playground and fast. He called the Philadelphia Eagles organization this morning and owners Jeffrey and Christina Lurie pledged immediately to give whatever is needed to rebuild.

"The Eagles are absolutely going to step up and get this fixed," said Christina Lurie. "Our employees have built 16 playgrounds throughout the city. I know we're going to get so many volunteers to work on this one."

local officials also announced that the reward fund for information leading to the arrest and conviction of the vandals has grown to $11,000 with contributions from the city, Fairmount Park, Friends of FDR and private donors.