Investigators Search for Arsonist Who Torched Nine Cars

Image:  A firefighter tries to put out a fire in a car
A firefighter tries to put out a blaze in one of at least nine cars that were set on fire in Fort Worth, Texas, on Saturday morning.Glen E.Ellman / Ft. Worth Police Dept.

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The Fort Worth Fire Department responded to at least nine vehicle fires on Saturday morning.

Around 4:02 a.m. officials began to receive numerous car fire reports on the short south side.The fire department says the vehicles were found in a one mile area by Hemphill Street and Berry Avenue.

According to arson investigators the cars were lit intentionally but it is still unknown why.

The Fralia family's 2002 Ford F-350 diesel was burnt to a crisp. Investigators said it looks like the fire was set at the front driver's side tire.The windshield melted onto the dash.The couple's barking dogs got them up around 4 a.m.

Caroline Fralia said “I came running out, try to grab the hose and as I'm calling 9-1-1 to give them our address and tell them our car's on fire the 9-1-1 operator goes, don't you live at 46? and I go no, I live at 47 and she said well we've got another fire down there and I thought oh my gosh."

Whoever got their kicks destroying at least nine vehicles including the Fralia's pick-up truck, likely wasn't counting a surveillance camera above the Fralia’s front door pointed right at them.

The video, which investigators downloaded onto a disk, shows a dark car pull up on the other side of the street and go out of frame. Moments later a white crew cab pick-up truck pulls up behind it and stays in the frame. Seconds later you see movement of someones head bobbing by the driver's side window of her truck. Then you see a bright flash, the truck’s burning and the two vehicles take off.

Fort Worth Police said the fire starters hit nine cars from about 4 a.m. to 4:45 a.m. all within a couple of miles of each other… mostly in the Ryan Place Neighborhood. This is where Marsha Henderson had her 10-year-old Toyota minivan parked.

"The fire department was down the street,” said Henderson. “They saw it catch on fire so they got here really quickly. They didn't run any sirens or anything. “They were working another fire one block down."

Vehicle owners are glad the fire didn't spread beyond their cars and no one was hurt but they are angry.

"It inconveniences me. It's going to cost me a lot of money to replace it and it'll have a ripple effect. It's a stupid, senseless crime," said Henderson.

"I really would like to get them caught because someone else may not be as fortunate as me," says Fralia who added she hopes this didn't’t happen to someone who had to wake up and go to work Saturday morning.

Investigators hope her surveillance video, in addition to any other evidence or tips they get, leads to some quick arrests.

The Fire department said this is a rapidly evolving investigation. Anyone who may have information relating to the identity of the person responsible for the car fires can call 817-469-8477 (TIPS).

People who call with information will remain anonymous and may collect up to $1,000.00 cash reward if your tip leads to an arrest and conviction, said the Fort Worth Fire Department.

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A firefighter tries to put out a blaze in one of at least nine cars that were set on fire in Fort Worth, Texas, on Saturday morning.Glen E.Ellman / Ft. Worth Police Dept.