A weekend arsonist scorched newly installed playground equipment at Public School 29 in Cobble Hill, alarming area residents and ruining the fun for hundreds of children.
Police said that the fiend set the equipment ablaze just before 1 am on Sunday. It took firefighters 24 minutes to tame the blaze.
On Monday, the seven-month-old jungle gym still cast an acrid stench, the melted rubber mats and charred cobalt slide cruelly transformed into a sick art installation, with children congregating around its acrid borders to ponder the meaning of it all.
“It’s really sad,” said one student.
Residents were mortified.
“The fact that someone would go through the trouble to do something like that at an elementary school is pretty twisted,” said Lisa Collins, an area resident and local blogger whose 4-year-old daughter Scarlet will attend the school next year.
The fire was not the only act of vandalism — graffiti marred a school door, and area signs were also defaced.
And that’s no surprise to some parents.
“There is a resentment of the school in the neighborhood,” said one parent who requested anonymity. “This was done by someone not enjoying the benefits of PS 29.”
School officials vowed to replace the damaged equipment and would consider installing video cameras outside the building and playground, which is open to the public in the evening and on weekends.
In a statement, Capt. John Lewis, the commanding officer of the 76th Precinct, said that cops would be stepping up patrols.
The word on the street is that the culprits were a group of teenage girls, but police refused to confirm that lead.
“There is an element of some poorly behaved late-teenage kids in this neighborhood,” said resident Naidre Miller. “My gut reaction is that it’s malicious vandalism for the sake of it. Hooliganism.”
This isn’t the first firestorm to hit the school: It was recently burnt by scandal, when its former PTA treasurer was indicted for allegedly stealing $100,000 from its coffers.