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Attempt to Locate Individuals Seen Moments before Fire at Pioneer Park Playground

Post Date:02/26/2019 11:24 AM

Attempt to Locate Individuals Seen Moments before Fire at Pioneer Park Playground

SARASOTA, FL  – March 1, 2019   – 8:30 a.m.

Sarasota Police Detectives are asking of the public’s help in identifying three individuals who were seen moments before a fire started at a playground at Pioneer Park on Monday night.  The video can be viewed on the Sarasota Police Department YouTube page at https://youtu.be/iJ5Raa1v3hs   The video was captured by cameras at the Historical Society of Sarasota County. 

The Sarasota Police Department, in collaboration with the State Fire Marshal’s Office, are continuing their investigation into the suspicious fire that happened at a playground at Pioneer Park, 1121 Cocoanut Avenue, Sarasota, at approximately 9 p.m. on February 25, 2019.

During the investigation, Detectives learned unknown individuals have been lighting multiple fires in the park.  Several small burn piles have been located throughout the park.  A picnic table was burned on January 25, 2019 but was not reported to law enforcement.

In the video, three individuals, one of which appears to be wearing a backpack, are walking near the playground less than two minutes before the fire begins.  Two of the individuals leave the park before the fire and walk towards 12th Street and Cocoanut Avenue.  The whereabouts of the third individual cannot be determined from the video. 

Anyone with information on this case is asked to call Detective Adam Morningstar at 941-364-7338 or leave an anonymous tip with Crime Stoppers by calling 941-366-TIPS or online at www.sarasotacrimestoppers.com

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Detectives with the Sarasota Police Department, in collaboration with the State Fire Marshal’s Office, are investigating a suspicious fire that happened at a playground at Pioneer Park, 1121 Cocoanut Avenue, Sarasota, at approximately 9 p.m., last night, Monday, February 25, 2019.

The Sarasota County Fire Department (SCFD) responded at 9:08 p.m. and extinguished the fire by 9:16 p.m.  Due to the speed and magnitude of the fire, the State Marshal’s Office determined the fire was set intentionally.  The State Marshal’s Office classified the fire as a “malicious mischief” because it was not a dwelling. 

Due to the suspicious nature of the fire, Sarasota Police Detectives are being assigned to investigate.  Anyone with information on this case is asked to call the Sarasota Police Department Criminal Investigations Division at 941-954-7070 or leave an anonymous tip with Crime Stoppers by calling 941-366-TIPS or online at www.sarasotacrimestoppers.com

For further information regarding costs and the next steps for the playground, please contact the City of Sarasota Communications.

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Fire at Pioneer Park

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