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Nine Cars Burned in Allston

BU student latest arson victim

Allston, MA vehicle arson - burned truck exterior

Photos courtesy of the Boston Fire Department

On Saturday night, Ryan Piccirillo parked his 1995 black Ford Ranger in the driveway next to his apartment at 20 Highgate St. in Allston. On Sunday morning, it was a mess of smoldering upholstery and broken glass.

Piccirillo (COM’12) says one of his housemates, Laura Brubaker (COM’14), woke him up. “She was banging on my door, saying my car was on fire. I ran outside to see small flames. I opened up the passenger side door and the flames immediately grew, maybe 8 to 10 feet. The glass windows then shattered because of the heat. It was all pretty scary.”

Piccirillo’s truck, which was set ablaze about 7 a.m., is the ninth vehicle in recent months to be torched on the streets of Allston, in what some investigators believe to be a game of cat and mouse. Boston Fire Department spokesperson Steve McDonald says the fires, all occurring early on weekend mornings and targeting cars that were parked in driveways or backyards, are considered arson.

Brubaker called in the fire. “I was up with my friend at 5:30 getting coffee and I saw someone walking through our driveway,” she says. “That’s not too strange for Allston, but usually it’s just someone collecting cans. When we came back from getting coffee, it smelled like something was burning, and I saw that Ryan’s truck was in the driveway, and the windows were all black. There were flames inside the car and the door handle was melted. We ran in the house to tell Ryan, and then I immediately called the fire department.”

“This has been happening in the Pratt-Ashford St. area of Allston,” she says. “It’s the ninth one within a five-minute walk of our house.”

Allston Vehicle Arson, truck exterior

For firefighters, September 24 was the worst. The first call came in at 7:50 a.m. reporting a car fire at 24 Pratt St. Responders found two cars ablaze there and a third car nearby damaged by the heat. When the fire was extinguished, a report came in of another fire, at 33 Pratt St. Then a third call: a blaze at 28 Ashford St.

No arrests have been made in the case, but the Boston Globe reports that witnesses, including Brubaker, say the person they saw was a white male in his early 20s, with brown hair and a medium build.

BU Police Department Captain Robert Molloy says the BUPD has offered to help Boston Police, who are investigating the crimes. “They are out there knocking on doors,” says Molloy. “I told them if there was anything we could do, let us know.”

Piccirillo got $200 for his truck.

“It was totaled,” he says.

“The weird thing,” says Piccirillo, “is my mom warned me about the arsonist about a month ago. I don’t get why someone would do something like this, but I don’t see the point wasting my energy being angry. I’m just thankful no one was hurt.”

Anyone with information is asked to call fire investigators at 617-343-3324 or police detectives at 617-343-4256. Information can also be provided anonymously by calling the CrimeStoppers Tip Line at 1-800-494-TIPS, or by texting “TIP’’ to CRIME (27463).

Amy Laskowski contributed to this article; she can be reached at amlaskow@bu.edu.

Art Jahnke

Art Jahnke can be reached at jahnke@bu.edu.

11 Comments on Nine Cars Burned in Allston

  • Anonymous on 11.08.2011 at 8:09 am

    Maybe BU should direct the police to try and stop this kind if thing instead of busting parties with ten or twenty officers?

    • Anonymous on 11.08.2011 at 10:38 am

      Technically, BUPD doesn’t have jurisdiction in Allston, it’s not their job to stop the arsonist OR bust parties there.

  • Aleem Aziz on 11.08.2011 at 10:09 am

    I bet you they won’t catch the kid unless he tries to have a car-burning party between thursday and saturday night.

  • Joey Joe Joe the 2nd on 11.08.2011 at 11:05 am

    Looks like we’ve ignited quite a discussion on the alcohol enforcement!

    • Joey Joe Joe the 2nd on 11.08.2011 at 11:46 am

      I would urge you all to keep this from becoming a flame war in the comments!

      • Anonymous on 11.08.2011 at 12:45 pm

        I would hate to be responsible for kindling such a fiery debate.

        • K on 11.08.2011 at 1:36 pm

          But the arguments are made with such flare; we wouldn’t want to dampen any spark of innovative discourse.

          • Joey Joe Joe the 2nd on 11.08.2011 at 2:50 pm

            guys, this is getting retardant

          • Anonymous on 11.09.2011 at 5:31 am

            @ Joey Joe Joe the 2nd, are you referring to the comments or your spelling?

    • Dan on 11.14.2011 at 11:37 am


      @anonymous…it’s not Joey’s spelling, it’s you missing the joke.

  • Hot Chick on 11.08.2011 at 1:03 pm

    What incendiary comments! Your cheeks should be burning with embarrassment!

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