Vehicles explode in flames overnight; officials suspect arson

May 25, 2011

Colorado Springs police and fire officials are investigating what might have caused three vehicles to burn early Wednesday in the 900 block of Bennett Avenue.

Just after 12:30 a.m., the police and fire departments received calls that two vehicles had exploded in flames at the Bennett Gardens apartments, 920 Bennett Ave. A third vehicle also caught fire and an apartment building was evacuated temporarily.

Investigators are treating the incident as a possible case of arson.

A white pickup truck took most of the damage, residents at the apartment building just west of Bennett Avenue said. A green Honda that was parked next to the truck and another car, parked about 20 feet away, were also burned. Just the Honda remained in the parking lot at about noon Wednesday.

Debra Lillie owns the Honda that sat on the ash-covered asphalt. The entire passenger side was charred the the interior was totally burned out. Lillie fought back tears, noting that her car was "innocent."

"That was my livelihood," Lillie said. "It was my only way to work."

Lillie said she would get a ride to work from a friend for a couple of days and then will have to find another vehicle.

Lillie and her granddaughter, Tatyana Lillie, both said they were shocked that it happened.

"It's a pretty quiet neighborhood," Tatyana Lillie said.

Anyone with information about the fire should call 444-7000.

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