People in Northeast Philadelphia woke up Sunday morning to find several of their vehicles damaged by fire.
Police say the first fire was reported around 3:25 a.m. when two handicap vans were set ablaze at TATH on Bustleton Avenue. Within a little more than an hour, a minivan, an SUV and two pickup truck fires were discovered within a one-mile or so radius.
According to investigators, vehicles were set ablaze overnight at the following times and locations in the Rhawnhurst and Bustleton sections of the city:
- 3:24 a.m. at Castor and Solly Avenues -- two handicap vans
- 4 a.m. at 9600 Bustleton Ave. -- minivan
- 4:12 a.m. at 9700 Birwood Street -- SUV
- 4:25 a.m. at 9800 Clark Street -- pickup
- 4:31 a.m. at 1900 Lott Street -- pickup
In each case, police say a flammable liquid appeared to be poured in and/or around the driver-side door causing the fire to quickly spread to other parts of the vehicles.
Two handicap vans
NBC10 spoke with Carol Sims, the owner of the vehicle the Toyota Sienna burned at Birwood Street.
“I had fallen asleep on the couch and I saw lights outside the window,” said Sims. “I looked out and my car was on fire. I just started screaming for my husband, came out and got the house and called the fire department.”
Carol tells NBC10 ATF investigators spoke with her after the fire.
“They said they were suspicious and they’re looking into it,” said Sims.
NBC10 also spoke with the owner of the vehicle that was burned on Lott Street.
“We got out as fast as we could because we didn’t know if there was fire in the garage that was getting into the house at that point,” said the man.
The man told NBC10 his three children were inside the house.
“They were scared,” said the man. “We pulled them right out of bed and got out as fast as we could.”
An NBC10 viewer sent in a video of the van fires at Castor Avenue and Solly Street in Rhawnhurst. Police say the fires could be suspicious.
"I'm just always amazed at how individuals will do things for their entertainment," said Jeff Brown, of People Acting to Help (PATH).
The non-profit organization the vehicles belonged to reaches out to recovering addicts, alcoholics and mental health patients.
"Not having them and not having them for the length of time that we're not going to have them puts a tremendous amount of pressure on us," said Brown.
No one was hurt. Police have not yet made any arrests.