That's Random: Police Say No Pattern to Car Fires

Carsons frustratingly hard to explain

By Cheryl Hurd
|  Monday, Dec 14, 2009  |  Updated 12:17 PM PDT
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That's Random: Police Say No Pattern to Car Fires

A carsonist strikes again in Contra Costa County.

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More than 20 cars have gone up in flames in and around Richmond, Calif. -- and you can add two more since last Friday.

Police say they have no clues: They have no idea why the cars are targeted and they have no idea who is doing it.

They're not even saying if they think the car fires -- so common they're now dubbed "carsons" -- in a concentrated area are connected, although they are not ruling that possibility out.

Friday morning, fire crews were called to a BMW on fire on Ventura Street and Clinton Avenue in Richmond. And another car, described as a "junker " but filled with a woman's personal possessions, went up in smoke early Monday.

"The only thing that's similar right now is it's a total burn from inside," said Richmond Police Sergeant Joe Silva.  "That's about the only thing I can tell you right now until we start examining the glass and the contents inside the vehicle."

When a car fire strikes, the investigation begins when the first engine company arrives on the scene.  Crews talk to owners of the car, if they're around, and rule out any malfunction of the vehicle. Every inch of the car is examined.

That's one way authorities say they determine if the fire is arson.

A similar wave of carsons in San Francisco has so far gone unsolved.

A task force is now in place, made up of fire investigators from five different agencies. They're comparing notes with the goal of coming up with a suspect profile.

That information is a tightly guarded secret, not shared with the press or the public.

So even when police get a clue, they won't be sharing it with us.

That kinds burns, doesn't it?

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