Four vehicles were either damaged or destroyed in two separate fires in Mira Mesa early Wednesday, the latest in a suspected arson spree being probed by detectives with San Diego's Metro Arson Strike Team.
The first blaze began sometime before 3 a.m. Wednesday and burned a black Toyota Tacoma that had been parked under a carport on Summerdale Road near Camino Ruiz and Westmore Road, north of Mira Mesa Community Park. The pickup was destroyed, and some parts of the carport were left damaged.
The second fire was reported just over an hour later, this one in the parking lot of an apartment complex along Capricorn Way, just east of Camino Ruiz.
A red sedan was destroyed and an Audi SUV and a Honda Civic were also damaged.
MAST spokesman Sgt. Rick Pechin told NBC 7 that detectives believe both fires were intentionally set and are related to three other incidents in Mira Mesa the week prior.
"We have had five fires involving vehicles in the Mira Mesa area over the last week." Pechin said. "As of now, we do not have any known witnesses, and we are still actively investigating these as arsons."
"The fire grew and eventually burned 17 vehicles and damaged the carports and adjacent structure," according to Pechin.
Pechin said at that time that investigators were also looking into the cause of a two other vehicle fires in the Mira Mesa area that he described as "suspicious."
The first fire involved two vehicles in a driveway on Vela Drive just after 1:30 a.m. on Dec. 21. The second incident was reported at about 1:15 a.m. the next night on Theresa Drive near Zapata Avenue
All five incidents being investigated have taken place in the same vicinity, north of Mira Mesa Boulevard, within a mile of Camino Ruiz.
The map below shows the area and the proximity between the five incidents:
It was determined that both of the incidents at Caminito La Bar and Capricorn Way began with just one vehicle lit on fire, which then spread to other cars before firefighters were able to extinguish the flames, according to Pechin.
Investigators are asking anyone with information about any of the vents to call the Metro Arson Strike Team at (619) 236-6815. Tips can be reported anonymously to Crime Stoppers at (888) 580-8477.