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Phantom Lake Elementary loses playground to fire for the second time

BELLEVUE, Wash. — “I just feel bad for the kids.”

That’s the reaction from Bellevue neighbors seeing the playground at Phantom Lake Elementary destroyed by a fire over the 4th of July holiday for the second year in a row.

“It could be an accident, but it was easier to believe that last year when it was a one-off – feels kind of intentional,” said Bellevue resident Aaron Carey.

Police are investigating Sunday’s fire as possible arson and fireworks are suspected.

The same with last year’s fire.

The rebuilt playground just went up in February at a cost of $400,000, according to the Bellevue School District.

“Our hearts go out to the kids and not having it I mean two in a row it’s just crazy. That’s the thing that just hurts and the community has been so supportive and generous with dollars to allow us to build new schools and all the kinds of things that we have here and to have this happen – a slap in the face to everybody,” said Jack McLeod, the school district’s facilities manager.

But that wasn’t the only problem over the holiday.

On the 4th, there was a brush fire between Phantom Lake and Tillicum Middle School next door.

A neighbor who took this video told us multiple people were seen starting that fire.

“They were doing fireworks and people were telling them not to – they were upset with that. They were not only using the small fireworks, it was very big fireworks,” said the neighbor.

Police are investigating whether there’s a link between the fires at the schools, along with another fire caused by fireworks that damaged a dock at Larsen Lake.

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