Slide destroyed in fire

COMMERCIAL Road Primary School is the latest target in a spate of deliberately-lit fires across Morwell in the past month.

The attack left students devastated when they found their favourite slide had been destroyed by fire on Sunday.

Morwell Police Constable Catlan Chiswell said a witness saw the fire and called emergency services about 9.30pm and a Country Fire Authority crew extinguished the blaze.

“Someone had scrounged up a bunch of paper and set that alight beneath the slide, which has set the play equipment on fire and caught the shade cloth,” Const Chiswell said.

School principal Jamie Tactor estimated the damage bill would be more than $3000, with the playground uninsured.

“In the next few days we’ll have someone come in an evaluate it. See what’s safe and what isn’t. We’ll get someone in to remove the damaged parts and clean up,” Mr Tactor said.

“The kids are starting to talk through it and come up with ways the school could raise the money to replace it.”

The fire is one of six recent small blazes across Morwell police believe were deliberately lit, including a grass fire near the railway station on 27 January, a shade sail fire in Latrobe Community Health Service’s barbecue area on 7 February, fires in Catherine Court and Maryvale Crescent on 11 and 17 February, respectively, along with a small blaze behind the GippsTAFE building on 18 February.

School captain Nyabiey said she and her friends used to play ‘tiggy’ on that part of the Commercial Road playground everyday.

“Heaps of preps were really disappointed and angry,” Nyabiey said.

“If you didn’t know what to do with the preps you’d take them there and they would go on it again and again,” vice captain Gemma added.

Fellow vice captain Dougal said students he spoke to were feeling sad and disappointed and questioned why their school was targeted.

School captain Josh agreed, adding he hoped an attack did not happen again.

Mr Tactor said money raised from the school fete on 15 March could be put toward replacing the equipment.

“It’s from 3pm to 7pm and we have stalls, face painting, jumping castle and other activities.”

Anybody who would like to help the school could make a donation by phoning 5134 2329.

Latrobe Crime Investigation Unit has called for witnesses or anybody with information about any of the fires to call Morwell police station on 5131 5000.