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PLYMOUTH, Minn. - A collection of new equipment for the largest park in Plymouth has been destroyed, apparently the work of an arsonist.

Plymouth Fire Chief Richard Kline says his crews were called to the Plymouth Creek Park at 3625 Fernbrook Avenue about 2:20 a.m. By the time fire trucks arrived the new playground equipment was engulfed in flames.

The equipment that burned was purchased to replace a playground set that was removed earlier this week by volunteers from Kids Around the World, equipment that will be shipped to Africa and split between two cities.

Police say the fire caused an estimated $200,000 in damages at the park, including between $80,000 to $130,000 in the new equipment alone. None of the equipment is salvageable. It was due to be installed August 15, and officials now say it will be at least a month before replacements can be found and installed.

Kline says firefighters were on the scene for about 2 and 1/2 hours, making sure that the fire did not rekindle. He added that police investigators were on the scene much longer, gathering evidence in this apparent arson.

Anyone with information regarding the fire is asked should call the Plymouth Police Crime Tip line at 763-509-5177 or the Crime Stoppers line at 1-800-222-8477.The State Fire Marshal is assisting with the investigation.

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