Six cars burn in parking garage on Holly Avenue

Fire crews found six cars that had been set on fire at a Holly Avenue parking garage late Sunday night. During the investigation at the garage, located at 1804 Holly Ave., Columbia firefighters found that three cars had actual fire damage and another three had damage from someone attempting to set them on fire. One car was completely destroyed. There were no injuries and a damage estimate is not yet available, a Columbia Fire Department news release stated. Firefighters have determined the fires were intentionally set, Columbia Fire Department Capt. Eric Hartman said, adding that a motive is still unclear. Firefighters found samples of ignitable fluid inside two of the vehicles that did not burn completely. They also recovered evidence from outside the vehicle that had burned completely. The samples have been sent to a lab. Other physical evidence was also located and recovered at the scene. "We found pieces of burned papers at the scene," Hartman said. All fire damage was confined to the cars in the garage. No witnesses have come forward, however, the investigation is ongoing. "We are getting tips in and we are following some leads," Hartman said. Car fires are not uncommon in Columbia, but most are caused by maintenance problems. "Intentional fires are less common, and six cars being set on fire is very rare," Hartman said, adding that the location is also an unlikely candidate for the event. Columbia police officers are assisting the fire department with the investigation but were not available for comment Thursday. Police ask that anyone with tips call Crime Stoppers at (573) 875-8477.

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