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'I don't want them setting them on fire': Abandoned vehicles pose problem for East Baltimore neighborhood

Posted at 9:49 PM, Dec 13, 2021
and last updated 2021-12-13 23:36:48-05

BALTIMORE — Baltimore Police and the fire department continue to investigate an abandoned car fire on the city's east side.

According to a fire department spokesperson, the fire happened Sunday around 5:30 p.m. in the 2400 block of Homewood Avenue.

The fire broke out next to a vacant garage. While there were no reports of injuries or anyone inside the truck, neighbors told WMAR-2 News the truck has been an eyesore for months.

"It's been sitting there for six months," said a neighbor who didn't want to go on-camera. "I've called 311. I was concerned that fire was going to spread to nearby houses."

Neighbors told WMAR when they call 311 they want the issue they're reporting resolved in a timely manner. That goes for abandoned vehicles.

Unfortunately, neighbors said the vehicle involved in Sunday's fire sat with a city sticker on it for three months.

"It was never towed away," said one neighbor. "We've seen all kinds of things. That night there were two people inside of the truck."

Valerie Presley lives nearby. She too knows the problem abandoned vehicles pose. 

"Either the crackheads get in them and overdose or they get in there and get high and then you have to call and somebody’s gotta pull them out of the cars," said Presley.

The arson aspect, sadly, is nothing new.

"That wasn't the first and probably won't be the last," she said.

Presley was one of the people who called 911 when she heard the pop.

"It sounded like tires exploding or gas in the tank," she said.

People walking by the burnt-out shell Monday stopped to look at the eyesore.

"We even laughed about it walking up the street," said Stephanie Stewart. "What asked, 'what is this thing doing here? Who put it here? What happened?'"

A neighbor shared home surveillance video of the area where Sunday's fire occurred. Video shared showed a man walking past the vehicle and then there was smoke.

It's unclear if the man is a suspect but the neighbors said a woman was in the vehicle with him.

"People have taken things out so they can get in there," he said.

That type of behavior and activity is exactly what neighbors say the neighborhood doesn't need. That's why when they call for city services, they want them addressed.

"I don’t want the prostitutes sleeping in them," said Presley. "I don’t want the junkies sleeping in them and i don’t want them setting them on fire. We want this area better. All we can do is ask for help."

WMAR reached out to Baltimore City's Department of Transportation inquiring about 311 calls and towing. A spokesperson said the department is looking into the matter and would get back to us. We are working to have the truck removed and the burnt structure boarded up.

If you have a community issue or concern you would like Dave Detling to investigate, send him an email. You can also send a news tip to Please include your name, phone number and pictures of the issue.