Don’t cancel that Saturday play date at Donnelly Park just yet.
City of Turlock Parks, Recreation and Public Facilities Department Superintendent Erik Schulze says the popular playground’s central structure, which was scorched by an arson fire Wednesday night, will reopen for use by Saturday morning.
A witness, William John Holly, reported he saw a group of at least three middle school age boys run from the scene. It is believed whomever set the fire used a propellant.
Schulze called the fire “devastating,” but said that the wood structure was finished with a flame-retardant varnish that delayed flames from fully consuming the structure.
Repairs are currently underway.
“We were fortunate to have a lot of pre-cut replacement pieces to replace the pieces burned,” Schulze said. “They are taking off the burned pieces and replacing them and then they will re-varnish them.”
The wooden play structure was designed and built in 1998 by members of Turlock's faith-based community. It was last resealed in November by the Pitman High School basketball teams.
Anyone with information regarding the fire is asked to call Turlock Police at 209-668-5550.