Superintendent: Student Started Sapulpa School Playground Fire

Monday, February 9th 2015, 8:19 am
By: Dave Davis

A fire that destroyed a Sapulpa elementary school playground Sunday evening was caught on cell phone video and Sapulpa school administrators believe a student started it. 

"Some little bitty kids, we'll have some tears about not being able to go out on recess," said Superintendent Kevin Burr. 

Aside from the students at Holmes Park Elementary, the administrators and teachers are probably pretty sad, too. The school and playground at 1231 East Dewey are less than four years old and are one of the points of pride for Sapulpa Public Schools. Now, parts of the playground are almost unrecognizable as play equipment. 

Kevin Burr said the fire started sometime before 7 p.m. and firefighters were able to quickly put it out. 

As for the culprit, the school district thinks they know who did it. Thanks to surveillance video, Burr believes the person who started the fire is a student at Holmes Park. The district isn't releasing student's name or age. 

"We had a pretty good identification of a young person that the police did talk to and we're going to take our disciplinary action against," said Kevin Burr. 

You can see how big this fire got from cell phone video, sent in by a News On 6 viewer. 

The playground bedding, which is made up of shredded rubber tires, Combined with burning plastic play equipment, made for a very intense fire. The fire damaged school windows and part of the exterior wall over 20 feet away from the playground. 

Burr said they also had to make sure the fumes from the fire were cleared out of the building before classes started Monday morning. 

"There was a pretty substantial smell inside the building, and this was my first chance to just walk through here and it smells great. So the kids won't have any problems inside the building," said Kevin Burr. 

He says the district doesn't know how long it will take to repair, but insurance money should cover most of the cost. Early estimates are that it could take $50,000 or more to fix it. 

Burr says a local Boy Scout troop has already volunteered to help repair the playground.