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Series Of Car Fires In Philadelphia Under Investigation

By Elizabeth Hur

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) -- Philadelphia's Arson Task Force is investigating a series of car fires in Olney and Feltonville.

Officials say eight cars were torched overnight in a span of about an hour.

The first report came in at 4:18 a.m. in the 5000 block of F Street. At 4:38 a.m., the second fire was reported in the 5100 block of N. 2nd Street. While on that call, investigators discovered the third car on fire in the 4900 block of N. 2nd Street. Then, at 4:59 a.m., firefighters responded to 3rd and Bristol Streets and found three cars fully engulfed. Fifteen minutes later, the seventh vehicle involved was reported in the 4900 block of Whitaker Street. The final call for help came in at 5:21 a.m. in the 300 block of E. Sheldon Street.

According to authorities, someone poured flammable liquids on the vehicles to start the fires. Kathy Karistinos has no clue why she fell victim.

"I was scared; I thought someone had something against me at first, that's what I thought, and then they told me that it was happening all around," Karistinos said.

Fearing her car might be targeted next for speaking out, another woman asked to remain anonymous.

"It actually scares me, because I actually live in the neighborhood. We don't know what's next."

She also shared with Eyewitness News a letter she received from the Fire Department. The letter informed residents of the fires and urged them to be on alert.

Neighbors say some of the vehicles had been abandoned for quite some time, leaving some to wonder if insurance fraud is behind the fires. Whatever the case, Karistinos says she is nervous.

Karistinos added, "I don't know whether to move or to stay and just put cameras out, I don't know what to do anymore."

As of late Wednesday night, officials said the motive was unclear and their investigation is continuing.

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