WOODBRIDGE –The Woodbridge Township Police Department is actively investigating a suspected arson fire that destroyed more than $25,000 in newly installed playground equipment at the 5th District Park & Playground located in the Avenel section of Woodbridge Township.
According to Police Chief William Trenery, the suspected arson fire was reported to the Woodbridge Township Police Department 9-1-1 Dispatch Operations Center and the Avenel Fire Department at 9:56 p.m. on Monday, April 13. The initial report was made by a neighborhood resident who spotted the fire. The Avenel Fire Department responded to the scene within minutes of the report. Upon arrival, Avenel Fire officials reported the playground equipment was fully engulfed in flames. The fire was under control by 10:15 p.m.
“The Woodbridge Township Police Department has established a 24/7 TipLine ~ 732-855-TIPS (8477) ~ to obtain information regarding the fire – any information received from the public will remain confidential,” said Woodbridge Township Mayor John E. McCormac. “This fire destroyed $25,000 in playground equipment which was installed in the park last June. The WPD will investigate. I’m confident we will track down and arrest those responsible for this senseless fire that destroyed a park, a playground, and endangered an entire community.”
McCormac and Councilman Greg Bedard (5th District) noted that on June 6, 2008, more than $65,000 in playground equipment was installed in the newly opened 5th District Park. The equipment included:
- A “Double-Delight Jungle Gym”
- A modular playground structure for children 5 – 12 years of age
- A “Little Buddies” Bulldozer structure
- Swing sets for children from 2 to 5 years of age and 5 – 12 years of age
- Six 6-foot benches
- Border and safety chips in the fall zone
Avenel-area residents, or anyone with information that might aid in the investigation, should contact the Woodbridge Police Department TipLine at: 732-855-TIPS (8477). Det. Brian Murphy is assigned to the investigation.