Fire determined ‘incendiary’

The blaze caused heat damage to a second car.

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A 1999 Toyota Corolla was purposely set on fire early Monday morning, Columbia Fire Department Battalion Chief Steven Sapp said.

Columbia firefighters arrived at Brown Station Road a little after 1 a.m. to find the Corolla on fire, as stated in a news release from the department.

While the fire department is not releasing information about how the fire was set, it was intentionally set, Sapp said.

The fire from the Corolla burned so hot it caused heat damage to a nearby Porsche 928.

“Vehicle fires can create radiant heat,” Sapp said.

The Corolla and the Porsche were 8 to 12 feet apart.

The Porsche suffered significant heat damage, the news release stated.

Witnesses at the scene reported hearing what sounded like a small explosion during the fire.

Fire investigators believe the explosion noise was the result of several tires failing, the news release stated.

It could also have been caused by the ignition of pooled gasoline when the fuel line in the first vehicle failed.

There was no evidence of an explosive device found in the car, the news release stated.

The fire department has enlisted the help of the Major Crimes Unit of the CPD.

“The fire marshal is the cause investigator,” Sapp said. “We document the scene and put reports together.”

After determining the cause of the fire, the fire marshal will assist CPD in whatever way they need because they’re trained in dealing with criminals.

CPD has an investigator trained as an arson investigator who assists the fire marshal in determining the cause of the fire.

“The fire department handles the evidence because they have more training in that area,” Sgt. Ken Hammond of CPD said.

CPD then will deal with the criminal aspect of the case.

“We assist with the interviews,” Hammond said.

There is a joint interview process between CPD and the fire department.

Police have no suspects in the case, Hammond said.

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