Crime & Courts

Three arrested after restrooms at Riverside Park set on fire

The public restrooms at Riverside Park were damaged by arson Tuesday night, authorities said, but city officials intend to have them repaired and open for use by this weekend.

Three teens — one of them an adult — were arrested near the park after the flames were extinguished in the men's and women's restrooms at the park, police said.

"The damage was not extensive," said Doug Kupper, director of the parks department.

The fire was reported at 10 p.m. The suspects apparently broke plastic toilet paper holders, unrolled the tissue and set it afire, Kupper said.

The resulting blaze charred restroom walls and damaged countertops, he said, but maintenance crews are optimistic cleanup and repairs can be completed quickly.

"I'd sure like to have it (ready) by Friday," Kupper said.

The three male suspects — two 17-year-olds and a 19-year-old — were arrested near the park less than half an hour after the fire was reported, police said.

Kupper said he was told the fire truck responding to the fire call passed the suspects as they were leaving the park. Firefighters were able to put out the flames with fire extinguishers.

Park patrons would have to walk a fair distance to reach public restrooms elsewhere in the area if these restrooms aren't ready by this weekend, Kupper said.

The closest restrooms would either be at the golf pro shop at South Riverside Park or at Park Villa.

"It's a good ways to get to restrooms" from Riverside Park, he said.