Police investigate SUV fire, suspected arson on Encina

Firefighters extinguished the blaze quickly, thanks in part to a nearby hydrant. Many details remain unknown.

Police investigate SUV fire, suspected arson on Encina
A community member captured images of the burning vehicle Thursday, June 20, 2024. Scanner Insider

Police are investigating a suspected arson fire early Thursday morning that saw an SUV fully engulfed in flames in a typically quiet Berkeley neighborhood.

Several community members asked The Scanner to find out what had happened, noting that they had been particularly concerned due to numerous trees in the area that could have spread the flames.

The Berkeley Fire Department was dispatched to Encina Place, near The Uplands and Parkside Drive, for a vehicle on fire at about 4:15 a.m.

Firefighters were able to extinguish the blaze quickly, thanks in part to a nearby hydrant, according to emergency dispatches reviewed by The Scanner.

A video provided by a community member who asked to remain anonymous showed the vehicle fully engulfed in flames as its alarm blared.

"Not sure what happened this morning but woke up to this," one reader told The Scanner.

Over the radio, BFD described the incident as "obvious arson" and asked for a police response at about 4:30 a.m.

Berkeley police said limited information was available as of Thursday afternoon due to the ongoing investigation.

Police did confirm that no one was inside the vehicle when it burned.

The Scanner is seeking additional details and will update this story if they are made available.

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