SAN FRANCISCO - Investigators in San Francisco are probing a series of suspicious car fires.
Over the past two weeks, several cars caught fire in the Bernal Heights neighborhood and police and fire investigators are examining a possible connection.
The most recent incident, captured on camera late Tuesday night on San Jose Avenue, shows a man quickly walking away from a Volkswagen Tiguan just before the car ignites. Another video angle shows the same man approaching the corner moments before the fire erupted.
The owner of the Volkswagen shared aftermath photos on social media. She said that investigators towed the vehicle away after it appeared the man, seen wearing a red beanie, set a holiday tree ablaze, subsequently causing the Volkswagen to catch fire.
The San Francisco Fire Department is investigating the exact cause of the fire.
"We can confirm that on that evening, we did respond to a car fire at that specific location," said San Francisco Fire Captain Jonathan Baxter. "As to the Christmas tree being a contributing factor to that fire or not, is still under investigation."
This incident is the latest in a series of car fires in Bernal Heights. On New Year's Eve, four vehicles along Park Street were torched, impacting residents like Al, a Korean War veteran, who now has to rely on Muni to get to his doctors appointments across town due to the loss of his car.
Fire officials are exploring potential connections between the fires. Given the involvement of a tree in the latest incident, officials caution against improper tree disposal and advise residents to use designated bins on scheduled pick-up days.
As of now, there are no suspects identified in Tuesday's incident, and the police are hoping residents will come forward with tips or additional video footage.
There is a Gofundme for the residents of the New Year's Eve arson attack.