Residents want answers after vehicles torched Downtown following July 4th fireworks

Published: Jul. 6, 2022 at 10:26 PM CDT
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ST. LOUIS (KMOV) - The St. Louis Metropolitan Police Department continues to investigate a pair of arsons. Vehicles were up in flames just hours after the fireworks ended on the Downtown riverfront on the 4th of July.

“The back end looks like it was shattered, and the driver side window also shattered,” Knickerbocker Lofts resident Mitch Honore shared. “It’s pretty burned up.”

Arson was not the grand finale Honore had in mind to cap off the holiday festivities.

“It’s pretty disappointing,” Honore said.

He had his friend Ashley Jolley and her daughter over to watch the Downtown fireworks.

He said he got a phone call around 2:30 a.m. on July 5th saying it looked like his 2015 Lexus was on fire.

“I specifically asked the police officer if this was totally wild,” Jolley said. “He said it’s been a common trend, the third incident reported within the last few weeks.”

Jolley provided multiple photos to News 4 of the damage to the two vehicles. The damage to the front of her 2013 Nissan Altima is clear. The front is melted, with the front bumper just a pile of ash on the ground.

Cars were set fire in the early morning of July 5th after holiday festivities.
Cars were set fire in the early morning of July 5th after holiday festivities.(Ashley Jolley)

Jolley said she supports the police but as a taxpayer, she feels helpless.

“I had to beg the dispatcher to send them out? She was rude. She’s like ‘do you need a fire truck?’ I’m like ‘no there’s not an active fire.’ She goes ‘how do you know it was set on fire?’ It’s evident. Why am I having to beg for police presence, I’m trying to call in an incident. The time it took to get there, and the attitude, I felt like a criminal,” Jolley said.

Both Jolley and Honore said they thought they were doing the right thing, parking by the building’s front door with several security cameras within an eyeshot.

This isn’t the first News 4 has heard about random arsons in the city.

News 4 obtained video of a random arson a month ago off Morganford in South City.

Police still don’t know who this hooded person was or a possible motive.

“I think them knowing, hearing they know this keeps happening, people aren’t calling it in, that’s a problem,” Jolley said.

Honore and Jolley said police filed the incident as non-criminal.

Then they were told the bomb and arson squad would handle the investigation but Honore said he hasn’t received an update to convince him to move his vehicle away from his building.

“I want people to know if they go Downtown, you don’t have to be one of those people out late partying, your car could get ruined and it won’t be a priority,” Jolley said.

He told News 4 he’s actively working to move out of the Downtown area.

“It sucks,” Honore said. “You don’t think it would happen to you but it does.”

SLMPD told News 4 Thursday that the department has surveillance video of the moments before the two cars were torched to flames. Police said a man shooting fireworks at 13th and St. Charles is what caused the cars to catch fire. The case is currently classified as a reckless burning.

News 4 reached out to nearby property owners for any surveillance video they may have but did not get calls or emails returned.