HAYWARD (KCBS) – Firefighters were called to the scene of a carport fire in Hayward early Friday morning, where more than half a dozen vehicles were damaged by flames by a man allegedly siphoning gas while smoking.
The fire was reported shortly before 3:30 a.m. at 22270 Montgomery St. Firefighters arrived at the 8-unit, 2-story apartment building to find cars engulfed in flames and neighbors describing a fire that was spreading unusually quickly.
“Oh yeah, within five minutes,” explained a couple who lost their sport utility vehicle in the fire. “I don’t know if that’s normal because we’ve never seen anything like that. But within five minutes, four or five cars were engulfed.”
The fire was contained within 10 minutes without any damage to the carport structure. However, the six cars were completely destroyed and two others sustained damage, Hayward fire Capt. LaShon Earnest said. No one was injured in the blaze.
In a somewhat unusual twist, a man described as being around 40-years-old was involved in an altercation at the scene and was punched by one of the apartment building’s residents, Earnest said.
Investigators later determined that the resident had spotted the man allegedly starting the fire by trying to siphon gas out of one of the cars. The fire started when the man, whose name was not immediately available, lit a cigarette during the siphoning process, Earnest said.
The man who was allegedly siphoning gas was taken into custody, Earnest said. He was taken to Eden Medical Center for injuries suffered in the fight but was not seriously wounded.
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