Man arrested after fire breaks out at U-Haul

A raging fire broke out last night at the U-Haul on River Rd., but police say the story behind how the fire got started is even flashier than the flames themselves.

Posted: Apr 5, 2020 9:33 AM
Updated: Apr 6, 2020 4:01 PM

EUGENE, Ore. -- A raging fire broke out late last night at the U-Haul on River Road, but police say the story behind how the fire got started is even flashier than the flames themselves.

Sgt. Stotts, with Eugene Police Department, said this all started with a dispute between a man and a woman in the U-Haul parking lot.

Stotts said the man was in a vehicle and threw a lit firework at the woman standing outside the vehicle, while she ducked for cover, the firework burst into sparks and the man drove away.

Unbeknownst to the man and woman, a thief was underneath one of the other U-Hauls stealing gas.

Sparks from the fireworks flew near the gasoline and four of the U-Hauls burst into flames with the thief catching on fire as well.

The gasoline thief and the woman both ran from the scene, with the thief running away with his pants and sleeve on fire. 

Police said once they arrived the owner of the U-Haul showed up, and was able to pull the security footage which depicted the scene described above. 

Stotts said the footage was clear enough for them to see the license plate of the man who threw the firework, and they were able to arrest the man at his home nearby before the fire was completely cleared. 

"He's been charged with reckless endangering, criminal mischief, and I believe those are it for right now," said Stotts. 

As for the gasoline thief, the police were not able to locate him.

They did speak to the woman who the man threw the firework at but police said she did not want to be involved further in the investigation.

Two of the U-Haul vehicles were a total loss out of the four that caught on fire. 

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