Officials rule overnight car fire arson

STONE MOUNTAIN -- Somebody sent an abandoned SUV up in smoke in the wee hours of Friday morning near a vacant Stone Mountain grocer, officials said.

Gwinnett fire investigators have determined the fire, reported by a passerby at 3:19 a.m., an act of arson.

Found blazing in a parking lot, the vehicle singed the exterior of a vacant Ingles grocery store on Annistown Road near Deshong Drive, authorities said.

The tagless SUV was so badly damaged, investigators weren't able to retrieve its vehicle identification number, said Fire Department spokesman Capt. Thomas Rutledge.

"It's unknown at this point whether the vehicle is stolen or how it ended up being burned," Rutledge said.

Georgia Arson Control Inc. is offering a standard award of up to $10,000 for information leading to the arrest and conviction of the guilty party.

Rutledge urged anyone with information to contact the Gwinnett Fire Arson and Explosives Section at 678-518-4890 or the Georgia Arson Control Hotline at 1-800-282-5804.

Fire scorches garage

LAWRENCEVILLE -- Fire scorched a detached garage at a Lealand Place Lane apartment complex about 4 a.m. Friday in Lawrenceville, Rutledge said.

Firefighters kept the blaze from extending to a nearby apartment building. No injuries were reported, and no cause had been identified Friday, Rutledge said.