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Police: Kids started fire that damaged Utah school

Published April 24, 2014 4:00 pm

Spanish Fork • The children were playing with a lighter on the playground.
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An 8-year-old girl and her 11-year-old brother were responsible for a Tuesday fire that caused $30,000 damage at Spanish Fork's Park Elementary School.

Surveillance footage shows the children were playing with a lighter and some paper about 6:30 p.m. on the playground at the school, 90 N. 600 East, before they apparently left the paper smoldering on some playground wood chips, said Spanish Fork Police Lt. Matt Johnson.

After they left, high winds picked up the flames, which spread throughout the playground structure, damaged another playground structure nearby and burned an exterior wall of the school and part of the roof, according to police and school reports. A security camera also was damaged.

Firefighters arrived quickly and subdued the flames against the gusting winds, said Nebo School District spokeswoman Lana Hiskey.

The damage was estimated at $30,000 but insurers still were investigating, Hiskey said.

School officials identified the children, who are expected to be referred to juvenile court on possible charges of reckless burning, Johnson said.

"It wasn't their intent to burn down the playground," he said.