Police, fire department investigating possible arson of Zipcar 

click to enlarge A Zipcar was set ablaze in a Mission district parking lot Monday night. - JOHN MOORE/GETTY IMAGES FILE PHOTO
  • John Moore/Getty Images file photo
  • A Zipcar was set ablaze in a Mission district parking lot Monday night.

San Francisco police and fire officials are investigating a possible arson of a Zipcar in the Mission district on Monday night.

About 8:30 p.m. in the 200 block of Dolores Street near 15th Street a Zipcar was engulfed in flames in a parking lot, officials said. The fire was mostly confined to the engine compartment, Fire Department spokeswoman Mindy Talmadge said, and there was minor exposure damage to three other vehicles.

The Zipcar, a Ford Focus, had to be towed away from the scene, police Officer Gordon Shyy said, and taken as evidence. A spokeswoman for Zipcar said that although they could not discuss the incident at length, they were thankful no one was hurt and are cooperating fully in the investigation.

“Zipcar is fully committed to the safety of its members and we are collaborating with the San Francisco police department in its investigation," spokeswoman Jennifer Mathews said.

Surveillance footage of the area showed one person, a man of average height and build, wearing a dark hooded sweatshirt and black pants, in the parking lot shortly before the fire was reported, Shyy said, but there was no clear indication he might have been involved in the fire.

It was unknown Tuesday whether it was related to any other incident of car arson that has happened in the area during the past month, but the investigation is ongoing.

On Dec. 29, two other cases of car arson were reported by police, not too far from the area of this incident.

At 5:05 a.m. in the 1400 block of Valencia Street, video surveillance showed a man putting a rag into a vehicle's gas tank and lighting it on fire. The vehicle, however, did not burn and the suspect walked away after tampering with the undercarriage of the vehicle.

Then at about 6 p.m. later that day, when a woman came out to move her car that was parked near Dolores and Cesar Chavez streets, she saw a burned piece of newspaper sticking out her vehicle's gas tank.

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