Jan. 28--Fire destroyed one of Waterworks Park's newest rides early Tuesday morning, causing "hundreds of thousands of dollars in damage," a park official said.
Redding fire officials this afternoon said they are treating the investigation as an arson case.
The fire destroyed The Dragon water slide, which was only about two years old, said Rebecca Ortiz, the park's general manager.
The fire broke out just after 1 a.m. Tuesday and firefighters had it knocked down within 45 minutes.
The ride is an enclosed tube that winds down from the top of a hill to a pool, where riders are ejected from the mouth of a large dragon head into the water, Ortiz said.
Most of the ride, including the dragon's head, was destroyed by the fire that ripped through the fiberglass structure.
Earlier today, Battalion Chief Rob Pitt said the fire was under investigation and he did not know what caused it or where the fire might have started. He said it was the first fire he could remember at the park, which is closed for the season.
"I'm fairly certain a slide's never burned up before," Pitt said.
Ortiz said The Dragon ride had been targeted by vandals over the past couple weeks. The ride had been spray painted and the eyes of the dragon had been stabbed out.
Ortiz said it was too early to tell if the ride would be rebuilt. She said the cost of rebuilding would be in the "hundreds of thousands of dollars."
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