◼ TS - Police seek suspects in McKinleyville vehicle fires
Authorities are investigating an apparent Friday morning arson after four vehicles were found lit on fire within two blocks in a McKinleyville neighborhood.
The four vehicle fires add to the number of vehicle fires that have occurred in the Reasor Road area in past months, said Arcata Fire Protection District Investigator Desmond Cowan.
According to Cowan, at just after 3 a.m., authorities were dispatched to Larissa Circle in McKinleyville, where police found a citizen attempting to extinguish a fire burning in the interior of a car, parked along the street near an apartment complex.
Humboldt County Sheriff's Office spokeswoman Brenda Godsey said the fire burning inside that vehicle -- a Honda CRX -- was put out by the time sheriff's deputies arrived at the scene.
Shortly after their arrival, Godsey said a deputy spotted a second fire burning inside a convertible Volkswagen Cabriolet parked in a parking lot outside an apartment building. The vehicle was fully engulfed in flames when authorities responded, and the car sustained significant damage before it was extinguished by fire crews.
When deputies returned to the scene of the first car fire, Godsey said one of them spotted smoke coming from another vehicle near their position.
The deputies ran to the next fire, which was inside a Ford Explorer. There they found a citizen attempting to put it out with a fire extinguisher.
The fire, which was located in the driver seat, was extinguished before it spread throughout the vehicle, Godsey said.
After the third vehicle fire was located, California Highway Patrol officers arrived at the scene, and authorities began canvassing the block, looking for additional vehicles.
According to Godsey, as officers walked, one noticed a fourth vehicle on Reasor Road that was filled with smoke. Fire personnel responded, and found a piece of clothing smoldering on the front seat.
Fire units patrolled the area looking for any additional signs of fire while a deputy, equipped with a thermal imaging camera, scanned for fires and looked for any suspects.
Investigators have scant information about possible suspects, but according to Cowan, witnesses reported seeing two suspicious young males in the area.
”Every indication is that these fires were set in a series all within a very short time frame,” Cowan said.
Authorities urge anyone with information about the apparent arson to contact the Humboldt County Sheriff's Office at 445-7251, or the Arcata Fire Protection District, at 825-2000
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