The fire was reported at 11:58 p.m. on July 19 by a police officer on patrol in the area. When the fire department arrived at the U-Haul — a national moving van and truck rental company — firefighters found multiple trucks on fire, according to Jaime Garrett, the fire department's public information officer.
Because the fire was burning near a 500-gallon propane tank and other vehicles, a second alarm was immediately called and nearby homes were evacuated, Garrett said.
The blaze was extinguished by 12:24 a.m., Garrett said. Arson investigators are investigating the cause of the fire, she said.
According to Mountain View police spokeswoman Liz Wylie, the U-Haul franchise has reported numerous separate incidents of large quantities of gasoline being siphoned from its trucks.
The siphoning incidents were first reported to police at the end of 2010, Wylie said, and the total value of all the gas stolen has been estimated at approximately $30,000.
Wylie said that police are not assuming that there is a connection between the fire and the theft of gas, but they are considering the possibility.
In total, eight vehicles were damaged by the fire — seven were severely burned and one had minor damage, Garrett said. The Santa Clara County and Palo Alto fire department assisted in the response.
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