Two Teslas burn in San Francisco, weeks after autonomous vehicle arson

FILE - A Tesla vehicles charge, Wednesday, Sept. 27, 2023, in Woodstock, Ga. Tesla reports their earnings on Wednesday, Jan. 24, 2024. (AP Photo/Mike Stewart, File)
Tesla vehicles charge at a station in Woodstock, Ga., in September. (Mike Stewart / Associated Press)
  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.

A pair of Teslas caught fire and were destroyed in San Francisco over the weekend just weeks after a self-driving electric vehicle was torched in a nearby neighborhood, according to authorities.

Over a 30-minute period early Saturday morning, the San Francisco Fire Department responded to two separate vehicle fires in close proximity, on Bonifacio Street near Mabini Street and Shipley Street between 4th and 5th streets, officials said.

The department extinguished the fires and began investigating at least one as a suspected arson.

Video obtained by CBS News Bay Area showed the origins of the second fire: a person setting the white Tesla Model Y ablaze around 12:45 a.m. The unidentified person ignited a fire in one of the wheel wells, causing the entire vehicle to go up in flames within minutes, the video shows.

Van Vuong told the local TV station that he was on his way to go play tennis Saturday morning when he saw the burned vehicle — and did not realize it was his.

"We just kind of walked by it and then I thought, 'Shoot, where's my car?'" he said. "Then I thought, 'No! That can't be my car!'"

That torching came half an hour after another Tesla caught fire on Bonifacio Street just a block away, according to the fire department. The fire department and police department did not say if the first Tesla was also set on fire, though they were investigating the fires together.

Read more: San Francisco set to apologize to Black residents for 'systemic racism'

No arrests have been made in the Tesla burnings.

The incidents took place just over a mile from where vandals torched and destroyed a self-driving Waymo electric vehicle during Lunar New Year celebrations in Chinatown earlier this month.

Videos posted on social media showed one person use a skateboard to crush the car's windows as its rooftop sensors continued to turn.

Crime in San Francisco has been the target of criticism by politicians and others, including Tesla founder Elon Musk who has publicly called the city where his company, X, is based "post-apocalyptic" and said that you could "literally film a 'Walking Dead' episode in downtown SF."

Sign up for Essential California for news, features and recommendations from the L.A. Times and beyond in your inbox six days a week.

This story originally appeared in Los Angeles Times.