EXPLODING tyres woke Allan Coughran when five cars including a Mercedes Benz were torched and totally destroyed on Belongil Crescent at Sunrise, Byron Bay yesterday morning.
"We looked out the window and there was fire everywhere," he said.
Mr Coughran said within minutes, three NSW Fire and Rescue trucks were on the scene as well as police just after 4.30am.
Unfortunately, they were too late to save a Silver Mercedes Benz sedan, a white Subaru WRX sedan, a Volkswagen hatch, a maroon Holden Astra and a small station wagon, all parked within 200 metres of each other.
"We didn't see any cars or people leaving the scene, only neighbours who were woken up," Mr Coughran said.
When he looked outside, Mr Coughran said he realised his neighbours' Volkswagen was well alight, and the fire could have spread.
"Neighbours woke up my next door neighbour, whose Volkswagen was destroyed because if the van parked in front caught fire it was pretty close to their house," he said.
After living at Sunrise Beach for more than two decades, Mr Coughran said this was the first trouble he had seen in Belongil Cres.
"I've never seen anything like it and I have lived at Sunrise for 26 years," he said.
"It's usually pretty quiet around here."
Opposite Mr Coughran, his neighbour Eyvonne Wessels said she heard a commotion about 4.30am and was shocked to see the result yesterday morning.
"I woke up about 4.30am and thought I heard fireworks," she said.
"I thought the neighbour was having a birthday party."
Ms Wessels said she was awake for several minutes.
"It smelled bad and I thought it was the smell of fireworks," she said.
"I thought I heard a lot of car doors slamming."
Police at the scene said all five cars, except the Subaru WRX, were ignited at the back of the vehicles.
A police media spokeswoman said officers were called to Belongil Cres, Sunrise, just after 4.30am to reports of several cars on fire after a number of triple-0 calls from residents.
The spokeswoman said officers worked with fire fighters to manage the situation and extinguish the fires.
Police are urging anyone with any information to call Byron Bay police on 6685 9499 or Crime Stoppers on 1800 333 000.
Update your news preferences and get the latest news delivered to your inbox.