City and federal officials probe car fires in Northeast Philadelphia

Posted: October 16, 2012

Police and an arson task force from the federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives are investigating six suspicious car fires discovered early Sunday in Northeast Philadelphia, one of which damaged a house.

Authorities said a flammable liquid had been poured near the driver's side door of each vehicle. The blazes were confined to the Bustleton neighborhood, police said.

The first of the fires was reported at 3:24 a.m., when firefighters were dispatched to a burning 2012 Ford F-350 van on the 8200 block of Castor Avenue in the Bell's Corner area of Rhawnhurst. The blaze spread to a second Ford F-350, authorities said.

While fire and police officials were still at the scene, authorities discovered a third car fire - a 2007 Toyota Sienna - on the 9600 block of Bustleton Avenue around 4 a.m.

Over the next 30 minutes, three more burning vehicles were reported to officials or discovered by police within a one-mile radius. They were: a Chevrolet Trailblazer on the 9700 block of Birwood Street, a 2007 Ford F-150 pickup on the 9800 block of Clark Street, and a 2009 GMC Sierra pickup on the 1900 block of Lott Street.

The Lott Street home of the Sierra's owner sustained minor damage. The man, his wife, and three young children were not displaced.


Contact Darran Simon at 856-779-3829, dsimon@phillynews.com, or follow on Twitter @darransimon.

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