Authorities asking the public to come forward with any information
By LACI GAGLIANO
West Metro Fire-Rescue and New Hope Police are investigating a suspected arson that occurred in the early morning hours of Monday, Sept. 4 in New Hope.
Deputy Fire Marshall Shelby Wolf said firefighters were dispatched around 12:45 a.m. to Hidden Valley Park near 32nd and Boone Avenues after a neighboring resident called 911 to report flames engulfing the toddler playground at the park. According to Wolf, authorities suspect arson, but the incident is an open investigation and no official cause has been released, and no suspects have been identified yet.
“My gut says it’s arson,” Wolf said, explaining that, while there are no details being released yet about what was found at the scene that, arson is a high likelihood. She said she placed a sign in the park with an arson tipline that witnesses or people with information can call. There is a financial reward for information that aids the investigation, and investigators are asking people with information to step forward.
“My guess is probably kids, but that’s even too early to say in the investigation,” Wolf said.
The playground equipment, which is designed for young children around toddler age, sustained extensive damage to wooden portions of the structure. In addition, a slide melted. City officials estimate the equipment will cost thousands to replace, and that the playground area will take months to be restored for public use.
Anyone with information can call the West-Metro Fire-Rescue District at 763-592-9551 or the Arson Hotline at 1-800-723-2020.