Surveillance shows man setting fire to car on Brainerd Road - WRCBtv.com | Chattanooga News, Weather & Sports

UPDATE: Surveillance shows man setting fire to car on Brainerd Road

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CHATTANOOGA, TN (WRCB) -

UPDATE: Chattanooga fire investigators are searching a suspect who they believe is responsible for setting five vehicle fires Saturday around 9:00 p.m. in the Brainerd area.

Captain Anthony Moore with the Fire Investigation Division said the fires were located between the 5100 and 5600 blocks of Brainerd Road, with one off Brainerd Road on North St. Marks.

Investigators say suspect tried to burn up four cars and one van, all within the span of 20 minutes.

Investigators say the suspect tried to start the all the fires by removing the gas cap and placing something on fire in the opening to the gas tank.

One car was seriously damaged, but most had minimal damage.

Chattanooga Police Department and the Chattanooga Fire Department are working together on this investigation.

 


 

A Chattanooga fireman told Channel 3 somebody set fire to at least four different cars on Brainerd Road Sunday night.

One of those fires happened at 9:03 p.m. at the 1-800vehicles.com car lot at 5203 Brainerd Road. And owner Mike Kehrer shared his surveillance footage with Channel 3.

"I was a little shocked and surprised 10 o'clock Sunday night they're calling me saying, 'hey you got a fire at your business,'" he said.

Mike Kehrer has been trying to sell a Saturn he bought a few weeks ago. But now he's busy repairing the charred plastic on the car's right end.

"I have two body panels and a bumper I have to replace and potentially a gas tank," he said.

The burned Saturn is salvageable. But Sunday it took the brunt of a fire.

Kehrer re-watched surveillance of the crime Labor Day morning. He said the guy had just set fire to another car five minutes down the road at Eastgate when he decided to walk into his car lot and ignite the Saturn's gas tank.

A police car even drives by as the man prepares to set fire to the car. The fire department, located next door toe Kehrer's business, drives by as well. Kehrer said he guessed the pair was coming back from the Eastgate car fire.

Then, in clear view of passing cars, the surveillance footage shows the man sticking something into the gas tank, lighting it, and taking off on foot.

"He's smart enough to know he can get hurt but not smart enough to know he can't outrun the explosion," he said. "It could've literally blown up on him."

A second security shot showed the guy looking back twice as he left the lot. Kehrer said the man had to walk by the fire department's garage to escape.

By 9:09 the flames get bigger and at least one car slowed down as it passed the scene. By 9:13 a fire truck from next door showed up and had the fire completely out by 9:15.

Kehrer said he hoped the suspect learned a lesson.

"The kid's playing with fire and he's setting fires that could harm him," he said. "I'm relieved it's just a car. Because this car could've blown up in his face."

Channel 3 is awaiting confirmation with the Chattanooga Fire Department on the exact location of the other three alleged car fires.

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