Accessible playground seriously damaged in fire

A playground outside a facility that provides summer camp care for disabled and handicapped children caught fire earlier this week.

The center recently built the playground, and for the last year, the playground was used each and every day by kids of all ages. However, what was once a $500,000 handicap accessible playground, equipped with a splash pad and mulitple slides are now all.

"Just devastating," said Joe Murray, the Athletic Director at Arizona Recreation Center for the Handicapped (ARCH). "It took us two years to raise all the money, and do all the ground work to get this all together."

Murray says when they got word of the fire Monday night, the damage was already done.

"It might have been someone playing with matches," said Murray. "I don't really know."

ARCH had just kicked off their summer camp on June 4, which provides recreational and enrichment activities every week day throughout the summer. When kids saw the melted slide, basketball hoop and ramps the following day, they were devastated.

"Of course we have to have it rebuilt," said Murray. "So, we will wrap up all the investigation. We can't have it like this. We have summer day camps. We have to move it as quick as we can."

About 45 kids attend camp daily every day. Now, instead of enjoying the splash pad and being outside, they have to take it inside until ARCH can rebuild the playground.

"ARCH is never going to go anywhere," said Murray. "It's here to stay, and we provide for the kids but we also provide for the teens and adults."

Phoenix Fire officials say the cause of the fire is undetermined. Evidence was collected to see if accelerant was used.

GoFundMe for ARCHKids Adaptive Playground