London Police are not ruling out the possibility that three recent fires, involving playground equipment in the Westmount-area, may be linked.

The playground at Jesse Davidson Park was torched early Wednesday morning, and was ultimately torn down by city officials several hours later — the damage was too severe.

The same thing happened to playground equipment near Arthur Ford last month, while damage was less severe when the playground at St.Jude elementary school was torched last Friday.

Damage from all three fires is estimated at a combined $50,000.

There was a report of three young people on bicycles in the area of Jesse Davidson Park at the time of Wednesday’s blaze, but no arrests have been made.

Police have released pictures of evidence found at the scene of this week’s fire, including a piece of cloth, a scarf, and white gloves.

Westmount resident Dave, who took his kids to the splash pad not far from the destroyed playground at Jesse Davidson Park, tells AM980 it’s starting to become a problem for the neighbourhood.

“It’s devastating, actually. I actually called in the fire of the other one down the street behind Arthur Ford and I thought that was ridiculous that some kids just got out of hand and started a fire, maybe by accident, maybe they were playing around. But now it’s pretty obvious that there’s some arsonists around.”

The fires are especially frustrating for Ward 10 Councillor Virginia Ridley, who says Westmount is a great area.

“It’s concerning, it’s impacting the neighbours, the children who are losing places that they can play, I think that we’re down to maybe two operating parks right now.”

Unlike Jesse Davidson Park, and a playground near Arthur Ford, damage was less severe following a fire last Friday at St.Jude elementary school — also on Viscount Rd.

Police say damage there is estimated around $1,000.

Westmount residents are hopeful the vandals are caught soon.

“My guess would be that it’s high school kids that are out for the summer and they think it’s a fun idea to burn down parks,” says Dave. “They did it once and they got a rush off of it so now they’re doing it again and again until they get caught, which, hopefully one day someone will catch them. I’d love to catch them myself.”

Anyone with information is asked to contact the London Police Service at 519-661-5670 or Crime Stoppers at 1-800-222-TIPS (8477).

Information can also be sent in on-line anonymously to www.londoncrimestoppers.com.

With files from Travis Dolynny and Tom Fraser

Source: Westmount Area Parent Calls Recent String of Playground Fires “Devastating” | (CFPL AM) AM 980