Arsonist adds car fire to rampage

By MELANIE AVE, Times Staff Writer
Published November 14, 2007

ST. PETERSBURG - An arsonist who had set nine fires in western St. Petersburg struck again late Monday, police and fire officials said.

The latest fire began in a car in an alley behind 4632 Central Ave. about 11:30 p.m. Monday. The owner of the 1985 Buick Regal heard his fire alarm go off, looked outside and saw his car ablaze.

So far, the 10 fires, which began Sunday, have caused about $145,000 in damage to cars, buildings and trash bins, said St. Petersburg fire rescue Lt. Rick Feinberg.

Investigators have not developed a profile for the person or group responsible for the fires, which appear to have been started with some sort of open flame, like a lighter, he said. They also wouldn't say why they think Monday's fire is related.

"We're still trying to piece it all together," he said.

The earlier fires damaged two businesses, a vacant building and two trucks. Others burned trash bins, a fence and a shed.

The most expensive damage was at 6400 First Ave. N, a converted one-story house that is home to Miracle Med Spa and Auracle hair salon.

The fire there started outside the building and caused between $75,000 and $80,000 in damage.