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Richmond police investigate suspicious fire at school playground

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Richmond, Va. (WTVR) - A fire left a school playground severely damaged early Sunday morning.

The Richmond fire department tells us the call came in at 4 a.m. to the 2000 block of N 28th Street, behind Woodville Elementary School.

The cause of the fire has not been determined at this time, but is being called suspicious.  This is the second time an incident like this happened at Woodville.  The first incident occurred about a year and half to two years ago.

"They are putting that stuff there for kids to play on, and then somebody comes in and destroys it, it's a waste of money," says Rosezella Tucker, who has lived down the street from Woodville for 15 years.

The playground's bed is made of rubber mulch, and the main structure is comprised mostly of plastic and metal, all materials that do not burn easily according to school sources.

"It's a thoughtless act; it's mean-spirited," says Kimberly Gray, who serves on the Richmond School Board.

The playground finished a few weeks ago and was built in compliance with Americans with Disabilities Act standards.  The entire project cost $79,408.  Yellow caution tape now surrounds the school's new playground.

"The caution tape is not the image children should see on their first day," says Gray, commenting on the fact that kids return to school on Tuesday.

A company will assess the damage to the playground later this week, according to officials with the school, and students will likely fill the halls when they do.

The investigation into the fire is still ongoing.  Richmond police ask anyone with information about this incident should call Crime Stoppers at 780-1000.

Stay with CBS 6 for the latest on this developing story.