Jacksonville Daily Progress
Jacksonville Police are investigating two small car fires that were set within two miles of each other early Saturday as possible arson. No one was injured.
“It's not normal to have two car fires in the same night,” explained Jacksonville Police Det. Jeremy Pate. “We don't get that very often. They were quite a bit of distance away from each other but we don't have any link at his moment. It's just unusual for it to happen back-to-back without being linked.”
Pate said the first fire was set to the back end of a 1988 Gray Honda and discovered along Bryan Street behind Radio Shack about 3:45 a.m. Saturday.
The second vehicle, a 2006 Nissan Altima, was located on San Marcos Street about 4:26 a.m.
In both cases, the Jacksonville Fire Department put out the fire and no one was injured, reports show. Jacksonville Fire Chief Paul White agreed with Pate's assessment of what happened.
“We know it was arson because the gasoline was poured on the outside of the car and one of the bottles was still there containing flammable liquid,” the fire chief said. “There is no question they were arson.”
Fire Chief White said he believes the two arsons were connected because they both took place on the east side of town.
The owner of the Honda told authorities he had parked the car in that spot for about three weeks and didn't know who might have wanted to intentionally set it on fire, Pate said.
“We did find a plastic bottle near the curb which could have had gasoline in it, but we're not for certain it was involved in that,” he said. “The fire damaged the trunk area but nothing unusual was found there or inside.”
The owner of the Altima was unable to come up with a reason why the vehicle had been torched.
“We did find a wooden handled axe lying next to the second car,” Pate said. “The owner said it wasn't hers.”