A Springfield man who allegedly set a truck on fire behind a business on Bechtle Avenue earlier this month was arrested last week.
Guy L. Ray, 47, faces one count of arson and one count of theft. He pleaded not guilty in the Clark County Municipal Court on Thursday.
A rise in car fires has been seen recently but it’s unclear if they’re connected, Springfield firefighters have told the Springfield News-Sun. The investigation into the car fires is still ongoing, Springfield Fire Marshal and Assistant Chief Brian Miller said.
In a 10-day period earlier this month, seven car fires were reported to the fire division. The city had several car fires in September, too, with a total of 13 that month. That’s almost double the eight vehicle fires that happened in August. Just one car fire was reported in July.
Springfield police and firefighters responded to a fire at about 1:55 a.m. Oct. 14 behind the Hibachi Grill, 1071 N. Bechtle Ave.
The full-size truck had rags hanging over the front tires, as well as placed in the gas tank hanging from the side of the truck, according to a police report. Rags were also placed inside the brake fluid booster and a chair was placed in the bed of the truck.
Ray also allegedly pulled the grill off of the truck, as well as several other items from under the hood, according to the police report. The tires were also slashed with a knife before it was set on fire, the report says.
The truck was burned from the back to the middle seating area and sustained damage all over, the police report says.
The truck’s owner told police he allegedly gave the truck to Ray to fix it, police said.
An owner of a nearby business told police Ray had been driving the truck recently, court records say. Surveillance video allegedly shows the man underneath the truck, then a light, followed by a fire, the owner told police. Ray also allegedly began adding trash to the fire to make it bigger, the report says.
A warrant was requested for Guy’s arrest on Oct. 23.
Anyone with information about a car fire can call the Springfield Fire/Rescue Division at 937-324-7615. Anonymous tips about arson also can be submitted online at https://form.jotform.com/60136605485152.
“We’re always looking for people to come forward and tell us stuff,” Miller said.
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