Neighbors on edge after series of car fires in Port Norfolk


PORTSMOUTH, Va. (WAVY) — A Portsmouth neighborhood is on edge after a series of car fires. 

Investigators say at least two of those fires are suspicious.

Neighbors say the area used to be fairly quiet, but lately they’ve noticed an increase in things like vandalism and car break-ins.  Now two car fires — that appear to be suspicious — have neighbors wondering “what’s next?”

It looked like a scene from a movie. 

“It was just fire. There was nothing left to it, it was just fire,” said Courtney Kuni.

The disbelief and shock is still fresh.

Irene Broadbent, Kuni’s mother said, “It was terrifying.  Everybody went running through the house screaming and we came outside and it was like, it was like a war zone.”

Just after 6 a.m. Sunday, this family woke up to neighbors banging on their door and a car on fire. 

“We freaked out.  We didn’t know what to think, why they did it, who did it,” Kuni said. 

The car belonged to Kuni’s husband.  She said, “It’s down to the metal.  There’s nothing left to the car.”

They wondered why this happened and then learned another car, just blocks away, had been set on fire the same morning. 

“You never expect it to be in your front yard,” Broadbent said. 

These are pictures of what’s left of that truck — and its owner says they also have no clue who is behind this. 

“We’re scared,” said Kuni.  “We don’t know if its going to escalate to a house this time or what, what’s going to happen.”

Kuni says the area seems to be getting worse, seeing a lot of car break-ins and poorly-lit streets.  She said, “It’s frustrating.  We just want help.”

As they hope for help, they’re still wondering — why did this happen?

“What possesses people? That’s what I don’t understand,” said Broadbent.  “What possesses people to drive around or walk around and destroy other people’s property just for fun?”

Portsmouth Police have said they will step up patrols in that area of the city.

If you have any information about these incidents, Fire Marshal investigators urge you to call the Portsmouth Fire Marshal’s Office at (757) 393-8765.

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