PALO ALTO (CBS SF) — Investigators were searching for an arsonist who ignited a blaze inside a car parked in a downtown parking garage late Monday night.

Palo Alto police said their 24-hour dispatch center received a call from a nearby resident reporting smoke billowing from the Cowper-Webster Garage at 520 Webster St. at about 11:45 p.m.

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Arriving firefighters and police officers discovered a vehicle fully engulfed in fire on the basement level of the multi-story garage. They were able to extinguish the fire. No injuries were reported, but there were concerns the garage’s structural integrity.

City building officials closed the garage for safety reasons until such time as the structure is deemed safe for re-entry.

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Investigators said the owner of the vehicle — a black 2007 Toyota Avalon four-door — said they had parked and left the vehicle on the basement level Monday morning.

An arson investigation was underway. There was no suspect information.

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Anyone with information about this incident is asked to call our 24-hour dispatch center at (650) 329-2413. Anonymous tips can be e-mailed to or sent via text message or voice mail to (650) 383-8984.