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Cars, scooters torched in NW D.C.

A charred car on 16th Street NW. (Gerald Martineau/Post)

D.C. police and fire investigators are probing an unusual overnight incident in which three motor scooters and two cars were set on fire in a residential Northwest Washington neighborhood.

The fires, and the resulting investigation, prompted police to close upper 16th Street to traffic during the first part of Wednesday morning's commute. Officials reopened the street, an important commuter artery, about 8 a.m.

Firefighters were called to the 3500 block of 16th Street shortly before 4 a.m. for a report of a vehicle fire, D.C. Fire Department spokesman Pete Piringer said.

Crews found three scooters chained to a tree in front of a house. All three scooters were burning. Firefighters extinguished the blaze within 20 minutes, alerted investigators and left the scene, Piringer said.

Then, he added, "just as they were backing into the fire station, they received another call for a car on fire" on the same block of 16th Street. This time, firefighters found two parked cars "fully engulfed" in flames, Piringer said.

The fires also caused significant damage to two other cars parked nearby. Crews again extinguished the blazes without incident, and no one was injured, Piringer said.  

The fire department's arson squad and D.C. police are investigating. 

This item has been updated since it was first published.

-- Debbi Wilgoren


Three scooters were burned. (Gerald Martineau/Post)


(Gerald Martineau/Post)

By Debbi Wilgoren  |  August 25, 2010; 8:15 AM ET
Categories:  Fires & Fire Safety , The District  
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Very curious to find out why these vehicles were set on fire. Gang related? Or did the owners piss off residents for illegally parking there.

Posted by: eunicedelrosario | August 25, 2010 9:24 AM | Report abuse

I live on the street of where this happened. First the mopeds were in front of the Oaklawn Apartments (which are directly to the left of the Woodner) not a house. One car was burned next to the mopeds. The other car was on the other side of the street, closely aligned. None of these cars were parked illegally. From the looks of the cars and how the incident is being reported, it looks like someone burned the mopeds on the West side of 16th St, then fled (maybe into the Woodner or the Oaklawn). Then after all emergency vehicles left the scene they set fire to a car, crossed the street to the East side and set fire to another car.

Also of note, earlier on Tuesday night, around around 9pm I believe, there was an emergency at the Woodner. This happens quite frequently, but there were at least 6 fire engines and 2 ambulances on scene, and one of the trucks had it's ladder extended to the top floor of the apartment. May be unrelated, but a lot of action within a 12 hour period on the exact same are of our block.

Posted by: beatledud | August 25, 2010 9:56 AM | Report abuse

beatledud, scooters are not mopeds. Mopeds actually have pedals, and they are quite rare these days.

Posted by: johng1 | August 25, 2010 10:18 AM | Report abuse

beatledub, Thank you for the additional information.

Posted by: Hypocritic | August 25, 2010 12:30 PM | Report abuse

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