Crime

Two vehicle fires, including one that scorched a taco truck, determined to be arson

Here’s what the Bellingham Fire Department does

The Bellingham Fire Department provides emergency and non-emergency services to Bellingham, Marietta and the Lummi Reservation.
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The Bellingham Fire Department provides emergency and non-emergency services to Bellingham, Marietta and the Lummi Reservation.

Two vehicle fires within two days of each other, including one that destroyed a local taco truck, have been deemed arson, according to Bellingham Fire Department Assistant Chief Jay Comfort.

On Aug. 14, Bellingham Fire was called shortly before 10 p.m. to a back parking lot in the 1800 block of Alabama Street for a car fire. Crews arrived to find the Bellingham Police Department already on scene, Comfort said.

Comfort said people at a nearby apartment complex had already put the fire out with a fire extinguisher. Crews then put out hot spots and mopped up materials from the extinguisher, he said.

A witness saw someone pour fluid from a container and light the car on fire, Comfort said. The cause was determined to be arson, and the investigation was turned over to Bellingham police, he said. No one was hurt in the fire, he said.

Bellingham police Lt. Claudia Murphy said the case is being investigated to determine if a suspect can be identified.

A little more than 28 hours later, shortly before 2:30 a.m., Bellingham Fire was again called to the Roosevelt neighborhood for a vehicle fire. A taco truck, Tacos El Tule, was on fire in the 2400 block of St. Paul Street, and the trailer where the kitchen is located was still connected to a pick-up truck, Comfort said. They put out the fire, but the trailer was determined to be a total loss.

Comfort said the fire originated from the trailer’s driver’s side tire being lit on fire. A fire investigator determined the official cause was arson, and the investigation has been turned over to Bellingham police, Comfort said.

Murphy said she was unable to say whether the two arson fires were related.

Reporter Denver Pratt joined The Bellingham Herald in 2017 and covers courts and criminal and social justice. She has worked in Montana, Florida and Virginia.
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