By Jeff Mays
HARLEM — Fire marshals have launched a criminal investigation into five car fires set throughout Central Harlem early Sunday.
"I was up feeding my baby and I heard 'boom,'" said a woman who identified herself as Lani M. and lives near Bradhurst Avenue and 149th Street, where a car was set on fire at 6:08 a.m. Sunday. "I thought it came from 145th were they were doing construction but then I heard the fire engines and I smelled a burnt smell."
According to fire officials, the vandalism started at 5:12 a.m. at Adam Clayton Powell Jr. Boulevard and West 152nd Street. The next blaze was reported at 5:54 a.m. at Macombs Place and West 154th Street. At 6:08 a.m. another vehicle was set aflame at Bradhurst Avenue and West 149th Street. And at 6:35 a.m., yet another call was received for another car fire at Adam Clayton Powell Jr. Boulevard and West 152nd Street, where the first blaze was reported.
The final blaze was reported at 7:20 a.m. at Frederick Douglass Boulevard and West 137th Street.
"This is a criminal investigation that is sill under investigation," said fire officials.
Lani said she has lived in the area for several years and has seen great improvements, which is why she was surprised to hear about the vandalism.
"I was shocked when I saw the cars the next day. It's unfortunate because those are people's cars and parking in this area is expensive," she said.