A 9-year-old boy is asking the "mean" arsonist who set fire to a playground in Mosgiel to remember what it was like to be a child.
Fire Service spokesman Rewai Grace said firefighters from Mosgiel Station were called to a suspicious fire in the playground at Mosgiel Memorial Park just after 11pm on Monday.
Melanie Powell, of Mosgiel, said the arson, which melted both slides on the playground, was "shocking".
Her son Dante Robertson, 9, said the arsonists were "mean".
"Why would they do that? They would have played on it when they were children," Dante said.
Michelle Wilson, of Fairfield, said the arson was "gutting".
"It's a real shame - there are some muppets out there."
Her daughter Devon Masina, 2, loved the playground and was upset she could not play on it yesterday.
Caroline Nicol, of Fairfield, said she was "saddened" by the arson.
Her daughter Rebecca Nicol, 4, planned to use the slide with her doll Shimmer yesterday and was disappointed after discovering yesterday it had melted.
Mosgiel Community Playgrounds Trust chairman Geoff Woodcock said the arson was the first "significant vandalism" since the trust raised $875,000 for playground equipment at the park about 10 years ago.
The Mosgiel Lions had the playground fort built about 20 years ago and the trust had two big blue slides installed about 10 years ago.
"The community loves this playground and is really, really proud of the playground. I don't see this as an attack on the community or the playground, I see it as people needing help."
Dunedin City Council parks operations manager Hamish Black said repairing the playground would cost up to $40,000 and take several months.
The council and its contractors were assisting police with its investigation, he said.
Mosgiel Sergeant Kevin Davidson said police were following lines of inquiry and wanted to hear from anyone who saw any suspicious behaviour in the area.
Dunedin police (03) 471-4800, Crimestoppers 0800 555-111.