DOWNTOWN — Investigators with the police and fire departments are asking for the public’s help in identifying the person or persons responsible for three car fires that erupted late Tuesday and early Wednesday.

SMFD Capt. Brad Graham said fire fighters from Engine 123 responded to three separate and suspicious vehicle fires over a six hour period in the 1500 block of Stanford Street and the 2900 block of Colorado Avenue.

Two of the vehicles were partially damaged while a third was completely burned out. The vehicles were described as being older models with very low re-sale values, leading investigators to believe the fires were an act of vandalism and not insurance fraud.

The first fire was reported around 11:20 p.m. Tuesday, the second at 3:30 a.m. and the third at 5 a.m., said SMPD Sgt. Jay Trisler.

Investigators with the fire department will be working with detectives to determine the cause of the fires and apprehend any suspects.

“We have no leads at this point,” said SMFD senior fire inspector Eric Binder, who his handling the investigation. “It’s not related to the owners. These are all vehicles that didn’t have insurance value. One didn’t even have insurance to cover the vehicle.”

Binder said the owners of the cars were “surprised and upset” when they learned of the fires.

Car fires are not uncommon, however, to have three in one night is unusual, Binder said.

Anyone with information is urged to call the SMPD at (310) 458-8426.

kevinh@smdp.com