Local/State

6 'suspicious' car fires in 2 hours in NE Phila.

Monday, October 15, 2012

Local and federal officials are investigating several suspicious' car fires that happened in a span of a few hours in Northeast Philadelphia.

The first fire was reported around 3:30 a.m. Sunday morning on the 8200 block of Castor Avenue.

Upon arrival they discovered two PATH handicap vans on fire. Officials reported that there was a strong odor of gasoline nearby.

Around 4:00 a.m. another car fire was reported on the 9600 block of Bustleton Avenue. A Toyota Sienna was on fire in the parking lot of an apartment building.

Less than 15 minutes later firefighters were called to another car fire nearby on the 9700 block of Birwood Street. The flames destroyed a 2007 Chevy Trailblazer which was parked in a resident's driveway.

Paul Sims was asleep when his wife saw the flames through the window. The family ran outside as Sims tried to keep the flames away from the house.

"My wife was afraid for my well-being. While they were fighting the fire, glass was popping on the car," said Sims..

Then around 4:25 a.m., crews were dispatched around the corner to the 9800 block of Clark Street where they found a 2007 Ford F-150 ablaze.

The owner told Action News that he had just four payments left on the truck and it only had 10,000 miles on it.

Just as crews were cleaning up, they were sent about two blocks away to the 1900 block of Lott Street for a fire on the bed of a GMC Sierra pickup .

Vince Ciocca and his family were home at the time and a passerby saw the flames, allowing Ciocca, his wife and their three sons to escape.

"I guess about 4:00, a truck happened to be driving by and saw the back of the truck on fire. It was close to the garage. He alerted us and we were able to get the family out quickly before the garage caught fire," said Ciocca.

The flames did cause minor damage to the residence.

The ATF Arson and Explosives Task Force will continue the investigation along with Northeast Detective Division.

Meanwhile anyone interested in helping PATH - who lost two of their vans in the fires can visit PATHCENTER.org

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philadelphia, northeast philadelphia, fire, local/state
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