RAFD probes Cotati car fire
Security video may help solve origin of blaze
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By Dave Williams  June 13, 2014 12:00 am

A fire that completely torched a car in Cotati early Sunday morning remains under investigation by the Rancho Adobe Fire District.

The owners of the vehicle, a Toyota Corolla, heard the alarm going off, looked outside to their driveway and saw their car engulfed in flames on Benson Lane. The RAFD initially believed it to be an electrical fire. But suspicions were raised when it was discovered the front passenger door was open while the other three doors remained locked. Also, a video from a neighbor’s security camera also showed a man in a white T-shirt walking in the vicinity of the home just minutes after the fire started.

“It (cause of the fire) is undetermined and suspicious at this point, and that’s really all I can say right now,” RAFD Capt. Bill Adams said.

The husband said an electrical fire never crossed his mind.

“I can’t get my head around it being an electrical fire,” one of the owners said. “I thought it was weird one of the doors was wide open because she (his wife) locked all four doors.”

Fortunately for the couple, the car bore the brunt of the damage. Part of their fence got scorched, but they were thankful the car didn’t explode and cause damage to the roof or neighbors’ property.

Because of rolling closures in the Rancho Adobe Fire District, a fire engine had to come from Penngrove to respond to the fire rather than from the station on East Cotati Avenue. The owner, however, indicated it probably would have been too late to save any part of the car had the East Cotati Avenue station had been open.

“I ran outside with the fire extinguisher, but I took one look and said there’s no way I’m going near that car…it was too far gone,” the owner said.

The owners say they will now install video surveillance equipment at their home.

“We just don’t feel the same or as safe as we did a couple of days ago,” the owner said on Monday. “I just can’t understand who or why anyone would do something like this.”


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