NH police: Playground fire may have been arson

Posted: 01/17/13 at 10:30 pm EST      Last Updated: 01/17/13 at 10:42 pm EST

MANCHESTER, N.H. (WHDH) -- Police are searching for a possible arsonist after a children’s playground was set on fire in Manchester, New Hampshire.

Steve Connors woke up to the fire early Thursday morning -- he still can't believe the damage.

“It was just gone, I mean the thing was just completely on fire,” said Connors.

Connors’ ski shed -- which doubled as a children's playground for his family camp -- was scorched.

“It’s really disappointing. We’re insured, so hopefully we get to rebuild this if we want it and it’s a vacant hole for the kids this summer. It’s disappointing more than anything,” Connors said.

The family summer day camp has been in Manchester for more than 60 years --the playground was for the 600 kids who attended.

Investigators think the fire was deliberately set.

“It’s a crime of opportunity. Nobody’s around. It’s dark, it’s late. That seems to be the M.O. for whoever is starting these fires,” said District Chief Jim Michael, Manchester Fire Department.

In the last year, there have been nearly a half-dozen unsolved fires in Manchester’s Crystal Lake community. And now, after months without a fire, there is concern a serial arsonist may have struck again.

“There is no such thing as coincidence,” said Michael.

But Thursday’s fire could be a break in the case. Investigators are examining footprints left behind in the snow, hoping they lead them to the suspect.

Sources told 7News investigators appear to be focusing on one individual.

Have a story idea or news tip for 7NEWS?

Email: newstips@cw56.com, or call us at 1-800-280-TIPS.