Vandals set Nanaimo sports field ablaze in ‘ridiculous act of wanton destruction’

Police said this fire on a sports field next to Nanaimo and District Secondary School was deliberately set. RCMP handout

Officials are trying to wrap their heads around what would possess someone to deliberately set fire to an artificial turf sports field in Nanaimo.

Nanaimo RCMP estimates the damage, which was discovered early Tuesday morning, to be in the ballpark of $40,000. Repairs could take a month to complete, police said.

Mounties say police and fire crews were called to the field, located next to Nanaimo and District Secondary School, around 4:30 a.m., where they discovered an “intense blaze” about 4.5 metres by 4.5 metres in size (15 ft. by 15 ft.).

Police said the fire was built up out of a matresses and metal frames, along with wooden pallets that had been dragged into the field.

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“It is extremely disappointing that this has occurred,” said Nanaimo school district superintendent Scott Saywell in a media release.

“The students, community and the district are quite proud of this one-of-a-kind facility and with this unfortunate occurrence, the field will not be usable for team practices that begin later this month.”

Nanaimo RCMP Const. Gary O’Brien said police are now hoping to speak to witnesses or anyone who saw something suspicious the night of the “ridiculous act of wanton destruction.”

Anyone with information is asked to contact Nanaimo RCMP or Crime Stoppers if they wish to remain anonymous.

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