DeKalb Fire arrest teen in playground arson case

- A 16-year-old has been charged in connection to an arson at a Stone Mountain park playground, according to the DeKalb County Fire Rescue.

Officials are not yet releasing the teenager’s name. The juvenile is being held at the DeKalb County Juvenile Detention Center.

For more than two decades, the playground at McCurdy Park has served as a haven for area children, but that changed August 26. DeKalb County Fire Rescue said the park suffered a devastating fire that damaged the play structure Friday night. 

“It's unthinkable that anyone would want to destroy a children's playground,” said Matthew McConnell who had just taken his son Griffin to play at the park Friday. “It's really, really, really sad. It's depressing, honestly. You know, at least he got some play time here, but there was a lot more good play time to be had on this playground.”

Tunisia Ali brought her group of homeschool children to the park Tuesday afternoon, only to discover the playground surrounded by crime scene tape.

“This is very sad for us. This is a sad day for my students over there. It's a sad day for me and others who come to the park because usually when we come, we see a few other home school groups.”

A community group set up a GoFundMe page to help raise money for the project.

“You know, we're a strong community,” said McConnell. “So, I do think everybody's going to be able to pitch in and make things happen and get it rebuilt for the kids.”

Stone Mountain Mayor Pro Tempore Chakira Johnson said the play structure was built in 1996 with community donations and it will likely cost $100,000 for the playground to be rebuilt.

Authorities said they received tips that led to the arrest. Anyone with further information is asked to call the Arson Tip Line at 800-282-5804.

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