FAYETTEVILLE (KFSM) – Authorities on Tuesday (Aug. 26) continued their investigation into fires that destroyed two trucks on Monday (Aug. 25) in Fayetteville.
One truck belonged to University of Arkansas quarterback Brandon Allen. The other is owned by a former classmate of Allen’s at Fayetteville High School, Eli Mattioli.
Allen’s Chevrolet Avalanche was burned in a suspected case of arson on Monday in his driveway at 1125 W. Hendrix St. in Fayetteville. More than two hours before that incident, Mattioli’s Chevrolet Avalanche was burned. Police said that happened around 1:34 a.m. at 711 W. Douglas St.
Police said they are unsure if the two incidents are connected, but said they believe both trucks were intentionally set on fire.
“There is a possibility that there is some mutual connection there, and that’s something the investigators are looking into.” said Sgt. Craig Stout of the Fayetteville Police Department.
Mattioli told 5NEWS on Tuesday he’s still shocked by what happened to his truck. He said he was friends with Allen during high school, but lost contact with the quarterback once they left for college. Mattioli said he spoke to Allen the morning their trucks were burned, and said they both have no idea who could be behind the fires.
Colin Cork lives next door to Mattioli at the Courts at Whitham Apartments.
“I heard what sounded like an explosion, it was an extremely loud noise,” he said. “I grabbed one or two personal items, ran outside and by that time the fire alarm had gone off and there were a couple of us yelling for everybody to get out of the building.”
A Toyota Prius belonging to a first-year law student, Laura Cox, was destroyed in the same fire that left Mattioli’s truck a burned-out shell. Her car was parked beside Mattioli’s truck. That fire also scorched a part of the apartment building.
Cork said it’s a miracle the fire did not do more damage than it did, but said he still feels bad something like this happened to his neighbor.
“Why would someone want to do this to a kid basically?” he said. “When you are that age, you’re an adult, but why would you do this? I plan to reach out to him and see if he needs anything.”
Mattioli played golf at Fayetteville High and attended two other colleges before transferring this year to the University of Arkansas.