Sunday, April 20, 2014
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Officials search for link between garage fire, ‘Allston flamer’

Investigators are probing into circumstances of a fire that ignited early Sunday morning in Allston, an incident that officials determined was the work of an arsonist.

Boston Fire Department spokesman Steve MacDonald said firefighters responded to the fire at 15 Long Ave. at about 7:50 a.m., where firefighters found a garage with two vehicles inside on fire.

Firefighters extinguished the blaze and BFD investigators determined the cause of the fire to be arson.

The incident comes about one year after a string of incidents involving vehicles on fire in Allston within a two-month period. The fires appear to be similar to the “Allston flamer” incidents, MacDonald said.

“There are similarities,” he said. “They happened on weekend mornings and the cars were not parked on the streets — they were either in driveways or in garages.”

Authorites are investigating whether Sunday’s fire is related to the 2011 fires.

MacDonald said the garage was a standalone structure with no residents, and no injuries were reported.

He said both wooden doors to the garage and the back window were destroyed in the fire. The walls, floor and ceiling were not badly damaged because the building is made of concrete.

Both vehicles in the garage were totaled, he said. The fire destroyed a Honda Civic and an unknown Acura model.

While MacDonald could not confirm if the vehicles belonged to Boston University students, he said one was leased to a resident across the street and the other was leased to a resident living next door to the garage.

He said the area has a high population of students, but the owners might also have been young professionals.

Boston Police Department officers are assigned to the fire investigation, but the BFD will continue to lead and conduct the investigation, MacDonald said.

Nearby residents expressed concern about the fire.

Hakan Jackson, an graduate student in the School of Management who lives at 17 Long Ave., said he hopes for more information on the intention behind the incendiary to be released.

“Hopefully they find a motive behind the arson instead of random burning,” Jackson said.

Jackson also speculated on the nature of the fire.

“It had the smell of electronics burning and stuff, so I’m sure there was a bit of electric fire going on,” he said. “It was taking a long time to put out.”

Mark Monfasani, a sales manager who lives at 15 Long Ave., said recent crimes in the area have unnerved him.

“I’ve lived in Allston for about 10 years, and we’ve had a few things going on this year that have been shaking me a little bit,” Monfasani said. “I’ve never really thought of it as a place where something like that can happen.”

Monfasani also said he was unable to develop a theory regarding the identities of the arsonists.

“It really is creepy that someone would do that to — presumably — random strangers,” Monfasani said. “We don’t know who it is, but we assume that it is no one that we know.”

Tyler Lay contributed to the reporting of this article.

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