Carmichael parochial school playground structure burned

A play structure was damaged by fire Tuesday morning at a Carmichael private school.

A large portion of the plastic and metal playground equipment on the campus of Sacramento Adventist Academy on Winding Way was charred and melted in the pre-dawn blaze, which was reported at 4 a.m.

Fire officials believe arson was to blame. The Sacramento Metropolitan Fire District, which had an arson investigator examine the structure, pegged the damage at $25,000.

Matthew Jakobsons, principal of Sacramento Adventist Academy, said the wood chips at the playground burned within a 60-foot radius.

The slide, located in the middle of the playground, took the brunt of the damage. Elements of the walking bridge and parts of the monkey bars were also set ablaze.

The school has an enrollment of about 250 students in preschool through high school. The fire not only caused damage to the playground but also shook the school community, Jakobson said.

“It is unfortunate that people believe that they need to do things like this,” Jakobsons said. “As a private Christian school we struggle enough to cover our funding. It is one more challenge to overcome.”

With school starting in a couple of weeks, Jakobson said he is most worried about the children and their daily routine. The playground structure has been there for over 10 years and is a part of the students’ overall experience at school, he said.

“They will be sitting there looking at a playground and asking the question, ‘Why would somebody do this?’”

Anyone with information is asked to call Metro Fire’s tip line at 916-859-3775.

Bill Lindelof: 916-321-1079, @Lindelofnews