Investigators: Surprise playground fire was arson

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A fire that destroyed a Surprise playground is under investigation. By Catherine Holland A fire that destroyed a Surprise playground is under investigation. By Catherine Holland
A fire that destroyed a Surprise playground is under investigation. By Catherine Holland A fire that destroyed a Surprise playground is under investigation. By Catherine Holland
A fire that destroyed a Surprise playground is under investigation. By Catherine Holland A fire that destroyed a Surprise playground is under investigation. By Catherine Holland
A fire that destroyed a Surprise playground is under investigation. By Catherine Holland A fire that destroyed a Surprise playground is under investigation. By Catherine Holland
A fire that destroyed a Surprise playground is under investigation. By Catherine Holland A fire that destroyed a Surprise playground is under investigation. By Catherine Holland

SURPRISE -- Investigators are now calling the fire that destroyed a Surprise playground arson.

It happened Sunday night near 175th Avenue and Paradise Lane in the West Valley.

The fire started small, but had blown up by the time crews arrived. 3TV viewer Monica Duran shot video on her cell phone as the flames raged, shooting thick black smoke into the air.

While firefighters were not able to save the favorite neighborhood spot, they were able to keep the flames from spreading.

"I saw lots of smoke and thought it was a house," said one little girl. Residents from all over the neighborhood gathered to watch the fire and see the aftermath.

The fire melted slides and demolished swing sets. Damage is estimated at $50,000.

"My little girl has been coming to this park since she was 4 years old," said Maria Salazar. "She was totally devastated. IT was really hurtful, even for me, because I know how much joy she gets out of this park, and all the children in the community for that matter."

Surprise police now say accelerant was found at the scene. They are asking anyone with information about the fire to come forward and contact them.

One neighbor told 3TV there had been a rash of trash can fires in the neighborhood in the past few months.

"There's no sense to it," said Andy Cepon.

No injuries were reported.