Residents of the Cottage Garden Apartments were rousted out of bed at around 4:00 a.m. after arsonists apparently torched three vehicles parked at or near their building on the 5700 block of Cottage Street. Another car was also set ablaze at Cheltenham Avenue near Harbison.
"We heard a big pop and my daughter said, 'Mom, get up' and we ran to my window and all we seen was flames on the side. I live on the third floor," resident Patty McDermott said.
"I had no idea what was going on. It was like a movie or something," Nicole McDermott said.
Fortunately, no one was injured.
Firefighters doused the burning vehicles and when the flames were gone, all that remained were the charred shells of the cars; they'd been completely destroyed.
"The whole interior, exterior, the tires, everything is gone," victim Dawn Hagaman said.
A minivan that burned in the back of the Cottage Apartments left a black crater in the ground and a plume of soot up the building.
A box of burned diapers was all that was left from another car.
The owner didn't want to talk, but said she also lost a car seat and toys.
The Philadelphia Fire Marshal and city police are now investigating the arsons to figure out who is setting these fires and why.
Neighbors complain that prior to this incident, their cars were constantly broken into.
"There were 10 cars already broken into in the same lot, stealing radios, tools, stereos," resident Bob Trinsey said.
But Trinsey says torching the cars brings the problem and the danger to a whole new level.