Three more suspicious car fires in the East Bay


There is serious concern that there is a serial fire-starter on the loose. /*Arson*/ investigators and San Pablo police are trying to make a connection between the fires t in Solano County and other vehicle arsons in Richmond and El Sobrante.

One car was torched in San Pablo around 9:30 p.m. Monday night. Two hours later and less than a mile away, two cars were hit.

"We've had multiple car fires, but they've been a gas fire under the engine hood or after a car crash," said Lt. Mark Foisie with the San Pablo Police Department. "But, to find three separate cars on fire within a mile of each other within two hours is unheard of."

Monday night's three arson car fires follow 17 that have happened in Richmond and El Sobrante over a two-week period. Most of the vehicles had unlocked doors. Investigators say that is just inviting trouble.

They also say these fires were all set by the same person.

"The owners of the vehicles, or victims, have apparently no relation to each other. There's no consistency," said Victor Massenkoff with the Contra Costa Fire Department. "It appears these targets are being randomly chosen."

The vehicle fires pose a big threat because they set up potentially devastating results.

"Many of these fires were set right in the driveway in front of homes, within one to two feet of some homes," Foisie told ABC7. "These are residences, in the middle of the night, when families were asleep."

"Fire doesn't know bounds. It's not like they're flattening tires or breaking out windows," he said. "Once a fire is started, the fire dictates what happens."

The rash of car fires has neighbors on edge, but there are some things people can do as a safeguard.

"Some very simple things, such as making sure your vehicle is locked and secure might've prevented some of these fires," Massenkoff said.

There have been no witnesses and few phone calls to the arson tip line. Police ask anyone that sees anything unusual to give them a call at 866-502-7766. A simple phone call could be the thing that solves this case.

There are still no suspects.

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