HOMESTEAD, FLA. (WSVN) - The owner of a South Florida preschool says his campus was the target of an arson attack, as a jungle gym went up in smoke.
Campbell Academy opened in February, and now the owner wants to know who started the fire.
“We tried to explain that you know accidents sometimes happen,” said preschool owner Jorge Lopez.
There’s only so much you can explain to a child for them to understand why their school playground is gone.
But in the darkness of the morning, to adults, the real story reveals itself on security camera.
“Definitely the business looks like it was targeted by someone, somehow. I don’t have no idea why something like this (would happen) to a children’s playground,” Lopez said.
You see a person walking around Campbell Academy in Homestead sometime before 5 a.m. on Monday.
Minutes later, a fire starts.
At one point, he runs toward the building, carrying a container.
“It’s devastating when you just see the kids’ faces, the children’s faces in the morning — most of them crying because they don’t have a playground anymore,” Lopez said.
Miami-Dade Fire Rescue is investigating the fire.
The owner of the preschool is a very private person, which is why he didn’t want to show his face on camera, but he wanted you to know what happened at his school.
This is what the playground looked like before. Now, all that’s left of it are pieces of burnt wood.
“When you put your heart and soul into this, you know, this is our second school, and everything I do is for the families and the kids,” Lopez said.
Now he’s asking for more help for you to call authorities if you have any information about this fire.
“He targeted the school. He targeted the playground, and he needs to be caught,” Lopez said.
The owner of Campbell Academy said it’s going to cost well over $100,000 to rebuild the playground. Even with that cost, he still wants to offer a $10,000 reward for any information that leads to an arrest.
If you have any information on this crime, call Miami-Dade Crime Stoppers at 305-471-TIPS. Remember, you can always remain anonymous, and you may be eligible for a reward of up to $10,000.
Copyright 2021 Sunbeam Television Corp. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.