A smoke-filled Dodge Durango found on the side of Alpine Road in Portola Valley Tuesday night was found to have had gasoline in it, used as an accelerant to set the vehicle on fire, according to the San Mateo County Sheriff’s Office.
The vehicle had a thick plume of smoke inside of it at about 11:40 p.m., causing the sheriff’s deputy who first approached it to back away, fearing there were possible dangerous chemicals inside, according to the Sheriff’s Office.
The deputy was transported to an area hospital as a precaution, according to the Sheriff’s Office.
A hazardous materials team was dispatched to the scene and Alpine Road was shut down at Westridge Road and at Arastradero Road until it could be determined what the materials inside the car were, to keep the residents in the area safe and to determine if there was anybody inside of the vehicle, according to the Sheriff’s Office.
The hazmat team cleared the vehicle and determined that nobody was inside of it at about 2:20 a.m. Wednesday. They obtained samples from inside the vehicle and determined the chemical was gasoline.
Attempts to contact the registered owners of the vehicle were unsuccessful and the vehicle was towed from the scene, according to the Sheriff’s Office.
Anyone who may have witnessed this event or who believes they may have information concerning the investigation are encouraged to contact Sheriff’s Detective Marcus Gathright at 363-7823 or call the San Mateo County Sheriff’s Office Anonymous Tip Line at (800) 547-2700.