MILWAUKIE, Ore. -- A house fire destroyed more than a dozen cars at a neighboring auto dealership in Milwaukie on Tuesday morning, according to the Clackamas Fire Department.
“We have about 13 cars that are a complete loss and at least 30 more that are damaged,” said Vlanda Willis of Volstice Auto on Southeast McLoughlin Boulevard, near Holly Avenue.
“It's a nightmare but at least no one got hurt,” said dealership owner Seamus Lennon. “Everything is replaceable.”
Surveillance video from the dealership showed flames rising from the property north of the dealership, and spreading out of control around 12:30 a.m.
“It looks like there was a campfire going,” observed Lennon.
Neighbors said this was the third time crews put out a fire on that property in the last year.
“Of course this one was the worst,” said Joseph Foster, who said he was caretaker of the property.
Foster said about a year ago, fire destroyed a house on the lot where a tenant had been living. Foster said that tenant continued to live in the burned out house until a second fire, at which point the house was boarded up.
Foster said the man then began squatting in cars on the property, while exhibiting strange behavior.
“He's yelling and screaming and talking to himself,” said Foster. “We're worried about this guy.”
Willis echoed the concern.
“I hope he gets some help and I hope this doesn't happen again,” she said.
No one had been charged with setting the fire which was still under investigation. Clackamas County sheriff’s officials said the man who’d been living on the property was taken to the hospital for a mental evaluation.