East Bay

Questions Arise Amid Series of East Bay Car Fires

Firefighters are investigating a pair of car fires that broke out in the East Bay, just two days after another vehicle went up in flames in another Contra Costa County city.

Both blazes, one in Walnut Creek and the other in Lafayette, were reported between midnight and 1 a.m. Wednesday, officials said.

Within a few hours, not much was left of a sedan that burst into flames on Leroy Lane in Walnut Creek. The fire department was able to put out the fire before it spread to the house in front of which the car was parked.

Contra Costa County Fire Protection District officials said it is too early to tell if the fire was intentionally set or related to another car fire just over two miles away.

In that case, a white SUV burned while it was parked in the driveway of a Padre Street house in Lafayette. Firefighters prevented the flames from damaging a nearby home there too.

"This is a very quiet neighborhood; to wake up in the middle of the night and see a car on fire and to find out it could be arson is quite scary," neighbor John Cumbers said. "I heard that they found some sort of device under the car. I don’t know what it was."

In both instances, an arson investigator was called to the scene.

Contra Costa County fire officials are particularly concerned because these aren’t the only vehicle fires that have occurred this week.

A vehicle was burned a few feet away from the Holiday Highlands Park in Martinez just before 4 a.m. Monday. An arson investigator also looked into that incident, but it remains unclear if that fire was set by someone.

"It could be a weird coincidence, but it's unlikely" neighbor Michael Samuel said. "I would like the police to get to the bottom of it hopefully."

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