3 juveniles arrested in arson at NJ playground for kids with special needs

WOODBRIDGE, New Jersey (WABC) -- Police have arrested three juveniles setting fire to a New Jersey playground for children with special needs, causing more than $100,000 in damage.

The playground fire happened on August 1 just before 6 p.m. at Matthew Jago School #28 in Woodbridge.

The juveniles (age 15, 14 and 14) were arrested on August 3 after Township officials and the WPD toured the fire-damaged equipment at the playground.

"It's just heartbreaking. My daughter was crying in the back of the car 'what are the kids gonna do in fall when school starts' just very upset," a concerned parent said after the fire.

The Matthew Jago School #28 "Boundless Playground was built in 2008 with a $250,000 grant. It is a fully accessible playground designed for children with special needs of all ages, skills and experiences.

"There are 60 different pieces of equipment that are all handicapped-accessible. A kid in a wheelchair can get up on the apparatus. It is just a fantastic place," Mayor John McCormac said.

This fire isn't the first time a playground in the community has been burned. In 2009 someone set fire to a playground in the Avenel section of town and in 2012, a deliberately set fire destroyed a school playground in the Colonia neighborhood.

"These arrests send a strong message to anyone who thinks that setting a fire and destroying thousands of dollars of playground equipment is simply vandalism," said Mayor McCormac on Monday.

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