An intentionally set fire early Tuesday morning has caused about $40,000 damage to the artificial turf field next to Nanaimo and District Secondary School.

Nanaimo Fire crews arrived on scene around 4:30 a.m. to find an intense fire burning in the middle of the field.

Once they managed to extinguish the flames, they determined it was the result of a mattress and wooden pallets being dragged onto the field and set alight.

The damage means the field will be out of commission for at least four weeks.

“It is extremely disappointing that this has occurred,” said SD68 Superintendent Scott Saywell.

“The field will not be usable for team practices that begin later this month.”

Nanaimo RCMP

RCMP are looking for witnesses who can help them identify those responsible.

“To drag a mattress and pallets on the field would take considerable time and effort,” said Constable Gary O’Brien of the Nanaimo RCMP

“We hope that someone may have seen or heard something that will assist in the investigation.”

If you can help, please call the Nanaimo RCMP at 250-754-2345 or Crimestoppers at 1-800-222-8477.