Arsonist sets 3 businesses ablaze in Overbook

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Another car lot arson in Overbrook was caught on camera. It's the third for the area in less than six months. (WPVI)

Police believe they have an arsonist at work in Overbrook.

Since October, cars have been torched at three auto storage lots along the same stretch of Lancaster Avenue.

Police want to put a stop to it before somebody gets hurt.

An Action News viewer captured video of eight cars going up in flames at the Major Events Auto lot in the 5000 block of Lancaster Avenue Tuesday night.

Police were called around 10 p.m., and it didn't take long for investigators to determine someone had poured gasoline over the vehicles and set them ablaze.

Philadelphia Police Lt. John Walker explains, "We had a gas can left at the scene."

Action News spoke to a man who identified himself as "Reef" who tows cars to the lot. He snapped photos of the aftermath of the blaze, and tells us, "It was definitely done intentionally. It was nothing that's a mistake. They even left the gas can in there."

In Reef's photos, the cars can be seen burnt to a crisp. There's no doubt that the damage is in the range of tens of thousands of dollars.

"Don't know why anyone would try to do that to hard working people that's just trying to maintain for their families," Reef said.

Tuesday night's fire was the third at an auto storage and towing facility along Lancaster Avenue.

Back on November 6, 2015, surveillance cameras captured a fire at the Superior Automotive and Storage lot at 6122 Lancaster Avenue. Someone broke into the lot, poured gas on the vehicles, and set them on fire. The suspect could be seen on surveillance fleeing with his left hand and arm on fire.

Just a few days earlier, on October 30th, three tow trucks were torched at a different business in the very same block.

Reef says, "That means it's major and it's a problem. A stop needs to be put to it."

Lt. Walker tells us, "We're concerned because any time you light a fire, the hazard that it creates just for the police and the fire department to get there, but also to the community where the fire can spread quickly and do a lot of damage."

The arsons are happening late at night or in the early morning hours and in dark, isolated sections of Overbrook.

Police are hoping anyone with information will call them or the Fire Marshal's Office.
Related Topics:
newsarsonfirephilly newsWest Philadelphia
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