Cars parked in West Central Fresno neighborhood set on fire

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A series of overnight car fires are all linked together in a new arson investigation. Firefighters are now testing a liquid found on each car. (KFSN)

A series of overnight car fires are all linked together in a new arson investigation. Fresno Firefighters are now testing a liquid found on each car.

The damage from these fires is extensive. Firefighters say incidents like this could potentially turn deadly.

Miguel Medrano and his family woke up to neighbors pounding on their door when their newly purchased Volvo was found burning around 4:15 Tuesday morning.

"We quickly ran out over here and my dad started hosing it down," Medrano said.

But, they weren't quick enough. The fire burned out the engine and dashboard. Medrano picked up the car last week for his mom. "It still wasn't even registered," he said. "It wasn't insured. So the car is basically gone now."

The next block over Samantha Aviles woke up to an exploding sound and found her friend's Mercedes engulfed in fire.

"It makes me scared because if it would have been a car in the driveway it could have caught the house on fire," Aviles said. She and her brothers could only watch as the car was torched.

Investigators say the arsonist knew exactly what they were doing. "They said they put gasoline, I believe, inside the hood of the car and lit it on fire like that," Aviles said.

Just around the corner from the first two families a silver Ford F-150 was also destroyed. The engine bay was burned out.

Neighbors helped the owners put the fire out before fire crews could respond following confusion over the simultaneous 911 calls for the three fires.

"In that time people are normally sleeping," said Fresno Firefighter Pete Martinez. "If it catches their house on fire, someone without a smoke detector or a heavy sleeper, you can have someone perish as a result of that. That's our biggest fear."

Investigators say these fires were likely all set by the same person. They're now testing traces of a liquid found at each scene.

"I don't know why they would do that," Medrano said. "I don't know if it's someone against us, but seeing it's three cars I think it's people going around being jerks."

Arson investigators say each incident counts for a felony criminal charge. They're hoping some neighbors around here have surveillance cameras that may have caught the arsonist on camera.



Related Topics:
crimetrackerarsonfirefresno police departmentFresno - West Central
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