Less than a month after three vehicles were damaged in an as-yet-unsolved carson in the Castro, four more cars were torched early Wednesday morning in what one San Francisco official is speculating might be a "serial car arsonist."
According to the San Francisco Fire Department, firefighters were called to four different locations over the course of less than two hours Wednesday:
- 4:12 a.m.: Cumberland Street and Church Street (A black Jeep Wrangler belonging to area man Eric Hartwick, KTVU reports)
- 4:44 a.m.: 17th Street and Church Street (a Ford truck belonging to plumber Bob Hansen, per KTVU)
- 5:09 a.m.: Liberty Street and Rayburn Street (Another Jeep Wrangler, this one belonging to bartender Ryan Salvo)
- 6:09 a.m.: 300 feet from the earlier fire, still near Liberty Street and Rayburn Street (a soft-top Mercedes G500, per KTVU)
KTVU reports that Hansen's truck suffered the least damage, saying that "the arsonist stuffed lit paper through the passenger window, but it only scorched a corner of the bench seat."
Hartwick's and Salvo's Jeeps were both completely destroyed, and the Mercedes "suffered serious interior damage."
"At this point, it does not seem like anyone was targeted," SFFD Arson Unit Captain John Darmanin told KTVU.
If police and fire officials have any idea of who the carsonist behind Wednesday's fires is, they aren't saying, and the investigation is ongoing.
“We’ll be canvassing the neighborhoods, knocking on doors, looking for surveillance,” Darmanin told KCBS.
According to Mission Local, however, "no employees of various businesses on the block of 17th street where the vehicle arson was reported by police had seen or heard anything of the incident there."
The Ex reminds us that these aren't the only suspicious fires to strike SF in recent days, as "Separately, another vehicle was set ablaze in the 500 block of Hamilton Street in the Portola neighborhood on Tuesday night about 6:30 p.m., and just after midnight Wednesday a portable toilet at 31st Avenue and Fulton Street in the Richmond district was set ablaze."
And then, of course, there was the November 19 multi-vehicle carson just blocks from Wednesday's blazes. At publication time, SFPD and SFFD had yet to identify a suspect in those torchings, either.
Capp Street Crap reports that "Since early September, there have been reports of more than two dozen arson fires involving cars in different parts of San Francisco." Perhaps that's one of the reasons District 8 Supervisor Scott Wiener thinks Wednesday's weren't an isolated event.
"It looks at first blush like there might be a serial car arsonist loose," Wiener told KTVU.
"We've seen some really sociopathic behavior where people do things where you can't imagine why someone would do that. And so setting cars on fire, it just seems like a really sick person."