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Elementary School Playground Burned Down Twice In One Year

NORTH HIGHLANDS (CBS13) — Fire investigators and police are searching for a serial arsonist who targeted an elementary school playground in North Highlands twice in one year.

Kids in the neighborhood including seven-year-old Madeline Lambuth, a second-grader at Oakdale Elementary School, are heartbroken.

"We don't get to play in our playground because someone burnt our playground down," Madeline said.

Last January, Sacramento Metro Fire responded to the school on Myrtle Avenue when the firebug torched the playground, leaving kids with nowhere to play.

It sat fenced in and idle for nearly a year while being rebuilt and was set to reopen over the Thanksgiving break, but didn't last long. Madeline's mother Jayla Lambuth is upset.

"These kids went a whole entire year without a playground now all of a sudden after the Thanksgiving break it burned down," Lambuth said.

Surveillance cameras captured whoever set fire to the park Thanksgiving morning, but as part of the investigation, the images weren't shared. Lambuth says there are bigger issues here.

Fire at Oakdale Elementary School in North Highlands Ruled Arson

"After hours it turns into a park, but it gets into a huge issue because even during the day when the kids are in school, there's people on here where our security guard has to tackle people," Lambuth said.

Parents say leaving the park open to just anyone just brings problems.

"There's needles, there's drugs, there's people that sit in here, homeless people, while the kids are in school," said Deja Brown, a mother of two.

Chris White, a father in North Highlands, agreed.

"They over there on the garbage cans, they do drugs, and you got this and you got the prostitution, I just think it ain't good, period," said Brown.

A Twin Rivers School district spokesperson told CBS13 they are thankful no one was hurt.

Jayla Lambuth says for over a year her fundraising efforts to build a fence around the perimeter have gone nowhere.

"I get it we're in a poor community," Lambuth said. "But if someone told me 'Hey I want park, I want a fence for the kids, I want this and that,' There's people that will pay for it," Lambuth said.

The school district says the material is in place to have the park rebuilt and expect work to be completed in four to six weeks. The district also says the area is patrolled by police.

The investigation continues as they look for who is responsible.

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