Chevret-Vaissade Arson Tipsters Get $1,500 Reward – March 15, 2012

Thursday, March 15, 2012


The wreckage of Chevret-Vaissade Park.

ARCATA – In the aftermath of the September 3, 2011, fire that destroyed the Chevret-Vaissade Park playground, the City of Arcata offered a $1,000 reward for information about the arsonist. Local attorney Kathleen Bryson generously donated an additional $500 to the reward fund.

Two citizens came forward with information critical to the investigation that led to the arrest and conviction of three juveniles responsible for setting the fire. The City is giving out the reward this week to the two confidential witnesses who will each receive $750.

“As Mayor of Arcata I’m very gratified that our citizens stepped forward and turned this wanton act of vandalism into a positive affirmation of our community,” says Mayor Michael Winkler. “I’m especially grateful to the two witnesses who helped the police solve this case. They’re helping prevent tragedies like this from happening again.”

In the weeks following the playground fire, neighbors, local businesses and non-profit organizations donated almost $4,000 in cash, pledged additional matching funds and made in-kind equipment contributions.

Thanks to this outpouring of community support, the playground’s insurance deductible was paid and the City was able to replace the playground equipment in record time. An enthusiastically attended ribbon cutting ceremony was held at the rebuilt playground on October 27, less than two months after the fire.

The story of this community-wide effort is documented in a short video, “Chevret-Vaissade Park: Tragedy to Triumph” at