A fire that damaged a tall sliding board at Dobbins Park Saturday morning is the most recent of 16 vandalism fires reported to Lakeland police over the last few weeks. All have been in the early morning hours in Dixieland and neighborhoods near Lake Morton.
First, seven garbage and recycling containers were set ablaze on June 12, according to police spokeswoman Robin Tillet. Six more were set afire Friday morning. Also Friday morning, five lawn chairs were torched on a truck bed on Lake Morton Drive, and so was a construction dumpster at a work site on Florida Avenue at East Ridgewood Street.
Finally, Saturday morning, vandals burned the sliding board and a trash can inside the restroom building. Parks Director Bob Donahay estimated the damage at $2,000. The playground equipment will be replaced, an exasperated City Manager Tony Delgado said this afternoon, and the city is determining how much of the costs will be covered by insurance.
Also targeted were wooden fences, according to ABC Action News, which quoted Dixieland residents who said they feared a fire could get out of hand and spread to houses.
The Lakeland Police Department asks that anyone with information about the fires, no matter how minor, call them at 863.834.6900.