Posted by Wei on:
06.04.2009 - Ellwood - The whole thing started Wednesday night when my boyfriend pointed out that there was a fire on the street adjacent to ours (Mathilda Drive.) The Ellwood neighborhood is a densely-populated area that is composed of individual apartment complexes on two streets that loop around to form a horseshoe shape.
I went outside the apartment and saw smoke coming from down the street so we both walked down for a better look. There were five fire trucks on the scene and a growing crowd of onlookers. We were unable to determine the cause of the fire or where it was coming from—there were just immensely large amounts of smoke flying from behind a complex on the street. Thinking no more of it, we went back to our evening and went to bed a little after 1am.
A little after 2am, I heard my neighbor walking to the laundry room, which is located on the side of the building facing the parking lot. All of the sudden, I heard him scream: “GEORGE, YOUR CAR’S ON FIRE!!” Unable to comprehend this, I sat up abruptly and woke George from his sleep. The 40 seconds following this consisted of simultaneously quick actions between me, my neighbor, and George. I was on the phone with 911 while the two of them used a fire extinguisher and a water hose to contain and put out the fire. To my surprise, I was told by 911 that the deputy sheriff and the fire department were already in the area responding to a different fire less than 200 feet away. I later discovered that two cars were completely torched to their bare metal foundations in the apartment across the street from ours. This was when I realized that we are dealing with a series of car fires which included the earlier fire we witnessed that night on Mathilda Drive.
I was in shock for most of the night, unable to process the amount of chaos in my neighborhood. It felt like the neighborhood was under attack as I watched fire trucks rush from one side of the street to the next; police vehicles patrolled the area looking for the perpetrator (to no avail as of date); and confused residents came out of their homes wearing PJs. This was no ordinary incident; I could not fathom how many lives were affected by this single event. Talking with a newscaster today, I learned that the girl whose BMW burned down is graduating in a week—like me.
My car was parked on the street, 10 feet away from the fire that torched my boyfriend’s car. It hit home. We finally tried to get some rest by 5am, and slept with our kitchen light on. By morning, investigators concluded the total number of directly torched cars is 5; 6 if you count the damages to my neighbor’s car parked right next to my boyfriend’s. Investigation is still ongoing regarding who started the June 3rd chaos.