Sellwood car arson foiled by sharp-eyed neighbor
At the foot of S.E. Spokane Street, as THE BEE arrived on Friday morning, July 30, Central Precinct officers were standing around a singed Hyundai sedan. They had been dispatched at 9:25 a.m., when an alert neighbor called the 9-1-1 Center about what they'd seen.
One of the gathered officers placed folded business cards, as evidence markers, near a cigarette lighter and a can of accelerant, which may have been charcoal lighter fluid.
Then, as a Portland Fire & Rescue Fire Investigator arrived to look into the incident, the neighbor who'd reported the incident walked up and spoke with the officers.
She told them that she'd witnessed a person near that car, looking as if he was trying to set it afire. The suspect had warned her to back away; that the car might "go up" at any moment. "You'd better get away, this thing is likely to explode," the unidentified man admonished her.
The witness said she then ducked around the corner of the condominium parking lot, and called 9-1-1 to report the incident and the suspect â€“ who she described as a red-headed male, with some facial hair.
"I heard him yelling, apparently at the car, 'come on, blow up!' before he ran away, toward the Willamette River beachfront," she told officers.
The officers did not find anyone matching the description, but the case is still open, and remains under investigation.
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