After arson fire, return to fun at popular Saratoga County business

Posted at: 02/19/2013 4:26 PM
Updated at: 02/19/2013 5:49 PM
By: Mark Mulholland

MALTA - Inside Tree Paad, kids can have a ball again.

Among the fun stuff, they fire foam balls at each other and navigate through mazes.

There are bounce houses, laser activities and a variety of video games.

But the past six months has been anything but fun and games for the owners of this popular fun spot.

Tree Paad was the target of an arson fire back in August. And to make matters worse, police say it was started by someone the owners trusted.

22-year-old William Smith of Queensbury. An employee of Tree Paad.

"It goes beyond betrayal. It was just hurt. To think that somebody could do that. It was devastating," said Patti Garrand, co-owner of Tree Paad. 

Smith is charged with arson. And he's also accused of setting fire to the fire department where he was a volunteer. Prosecutors say he set four different fires to the West Glens Falls Volunteer Fire Company. If convicted, he faces a maximum sentence of 100 years in prison.

The kids who were playing Tuesday at Tree Paad's re-opening had no idea that a fire here caused roughly a million dollars in damage.

The owners spent six months making sure their little customers don't notice a thing.

"It's new and exciting, so we hope everybody comes to see us," said Candy Cross, co-owner of Tree Paad.

Smith is being held in the Warren County Jail. Tree Paad is open every day during school breaks, but typically closes on Tuesdays and Wednesdays.