By Mary Bubala

LAUREL, Md. (WJZ) — Police in Laurel say three playgrounds have been torched in just days.

Mary Bubala takes a look at the damage and the trauma it’s caused many children who have lost their place to play.

“I’ve never seen anything like this ever,” said longtime Laurel resident Eileen Collins.

Collins is upset by what’s going on in her town. Her son Caleb agrees.

“I mean, who would enjoy that? I mean, really, come on now. I don’t think that’s right at all,” he said.

This is the third time since last Sunday police say ground equipment has been set on fire in Laurel. The first fire happened at Discovery Community Park. It started around 4:30 p.m.

“I didn’t see anybody walking this way or running,” said Eileen Vitaliti.

Neighbors say they didn’t see any suspects.

“There are some similarities but again, whether the same people are involved, we just don’t know at this point,” said City of Laurel spokesman Pete Piringer.

There was also a fire set Friday night at the Gude Park playground. There was minimal damage and two juveniles were arrested.

But Monday’s fire was far worse.

Delores Stratford says this fire will upset her granddaughter.

“All I was talking about to her was when the weather breaks, we’re going to the playground, we’re going to the playground. But now we don’t have a playground here to go to,” Stratford said.

Laurel residents say this has got to stop. They worry next time it won’t just be playground equipment but people who are hurt.

“Clearly, I think Laurel is being targeted and I don’t like that at all. I mean, I live in Laurel pretty close to here and it’s just nerve-wracking,” said Caleb.

Authorities say the total damage for all the parks is estimated at up to $100,000.


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