Upper Dublin Police and fire officials were at St. Alphonsus Catholic Elementary School this morning continuing the investigation of Sunday evening's playground fire at the school.
Upper Dublin Fire Marshal Tim Schuck said authorities retrieved some video footage from the school’s security cameras and are “actively pursuing three teenage witnesses.”
He said the school's security cameras are mostly indoors, however, there are two that face the exterior. One observes the gym door and the other observes the playground.
He said the teens are from the area, but do not go to St. Alphonsus. However, he added that the investigation into the fire is continuing and that authorities are interviewing neighbors who live near the school.
More than just property damage
The playground had two swirled slides, a rock wall, monkey bars, and a bounce bridge. The fire completely melted away one of the slides and the rock wall.
David Hayden, principal at St. Alphonsus, said the destruction of the playground is much more devastating than just losing part of the school.
Hayden said that ten years ago, a kindergarten teacher at the school died of cancer. While she was teaching at the school, Hayden said, she had dreamed of having a playground of the kindergarten students to play on.
After her death, the school community came together and donated money, time, tools and more to build the playground that sat behind the school.
“[This loss is] a lot tougher for the people who were a part of that,” said Hayden.
However, he said this gives the school a chance to rebuild the playground and rededicate it for the teacher. He added that it is a chance to remember the wonderful person and wonderful teacher she was.
Hayden said a new playground will be built, which will be “at the very least the same outstanding playground” this was. For now, the students in the kindergarten through third grade, who had previously used the playground, will play on the grassy field in the front of the school with the rest of the students.