Santa Paula Fire and Police are investigating a Tuesday afternoon arson fire that damaged a Silverado 1500 pickup truck parked in the area of the 400 block of West Santa Barbara Street. Late Tuesday afternoon firefighters were called to the scene of a vehicle fire outside AutoZone on Harvard Boulevard. There was no suspicion of arson in the fire that burned the parked car’s engine compartment.

Tuesday vehicle fires unrelated, one is suspected arson

January 03, 2014
Santa Paula News

By Peggy Kelly 

Santa Paula Times 

A New Year’s Eve daytime fire that destroyed the interior of a 2013 pickup truck is being investigated as an arson, according to a Santa Paula Fire Department spokesman who noted firefighters had been summoned to the same location the day before for a suspected arson attempt. 

Later on Tuesday there was a second vehicle fire that occurred outside a local auto parts supply store that is not believed to be criminal in nature.

According to SPFD Captain Jerry Byrum, the first December 31 incident occurred Tuesday at about 2 p.m. when firefighters were summoned to the 400 block of West Santa Barbara Street, near the Santa Paulan Apartment complex and a commercial center.

Upon arrival firefighters found a blue, 2013 Chevrolet Silverado 1500 pickup with smoke pouring from the interior.

Byrum said the fire “Was involving the passenger space in the had not yet gone into a free burn state. The windows were rolled up but not completely,” and it appeared the blaze “initially flashed, then probably went into a smoldering state.”

Although the blaze was quickly extinguished Byrum said it did cause considerable damage to the interior: “The entire passenger space was damaged,” from the melted dashboard and stereo to the headliner and the seat. “I estimated the damage right at around $10,000 just because of what was damaged, the stereo, some of the electronics...those aren’t cheap.”

The incident is under investigation by SPFD and Santa Paula Police who sent detectives to the scene especially as the vehicle had also been the target of an attempted arson the day before.

Someone tried to set fire to the pickup truck Monday when it was parked in the same approximate area; in that incident a vehicle parked behind the Silverado sustained minor exterior damage, although investigators do not believe the passenger car was the target of the attempted arson.

“You could see the evidence Monday that someone tried to light the truck on fire,” and Byrum said the investigation is “ongoing, but it’s pretty evident from what we found at the scene Tuesday-burn pattern and other evidence-was indicative of arson. It was pretty clear-cut based on what was found Monday and Tuesday, but the second day they stepped it up a little.” 

Such incidents said Byrum are unusual as they occurred, “In broad daylight on a busy street in a residential area...”

Firefighters were again called out at about 3:20 p.m. for the report of a vehicle fire at 159 W. Harvard Blvd., in the parking lot of the AutoZone Auto Parts & Accessories on the corner of Palm Avenue.

Upon arrival firefighters quickly extinguished a fire in the engine compartment of a vehicle that was parked in front of the store. There was no suspicion of arson in the incident. 

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