Police ID Victim of Thursday's Car Fire

Justin Hervey, 23, of Armonk, N.Y., was sent to Bridgeport Hospital Thursday with severe burns, police said. He is a part-time student at Fairfield University.

[Editor's Note: Photo courtesy of Stephen Krauchick of DoingItLocal.com.]

and continue to , which sent one man to the hospital with severe burns on his body.

Police said Friday that Justin Hervey, 23, of Armonk, N.Y., remains in critical condition at Bridgeport Hospital. Hervey is a part-time student and police believe he had been living on campus for the school year.

According to the report, Hervey was in a blue Chevy Tahoe parked near Thursday when the SUV became engulfed in flames. A group of middle and elementary school children on a youth baseball team, their parents, and coaches were at the park when the incident occurred.

Witnesses told police they heard a small pop and looked over to see the Tahoe was in flames. Hervey then ran out of the car toward the group in the park, police said.

Parents and coaches told the man to drop to the ground to put out the flames. When he did not stop, a coach and a parent reportedly brought him to the ground and attempted to quell the blaze with blankets, police spokesperson Sgt. Sue Lussier said Friday.

Police and fire officials responded to the scene as witnesses were trying to help Hervey. Responders divided into two teams, according to a release from Assistant Fire Chief Scott Bisson -- one team began extinguishing the car fire while another treated Hervey until an ambulance arrived to transport him to the burn unit at Bridgeport Hospital.

“The actions of the civilians that helped the burn victim with his injuries were heroic and should be applauded as they risked their personal safety to help another person in need," Bisson said.

The cause of the suspected explosion remains under investigation by the police department's arson investigators and the town's fire marshal. Police said Friday they believe the fire originated from the interior of the vehicle.

Police have also reached out to various agencies in town in an effort to provide support and counseling to the witnesses of the event, which include children between the ages of 10 and 12. Parks and Recreation Director Gerry Lombardo and Superintendent of School Dr. David Title were informed of the incident Thursday so that teachers and staff at Fairfield's schools could prepare for counseling.

“Due to the traumatic nature of the incident that many young players witnessed, the parents of the children and the school system have been advised of the situation so that counselors will be available for anyone requesting assistance,” Bisson said in the fire department's release.

Fairfield Resident September 07, 2012 at 03:28 PM
First it was reported the SUV was driving by. Now it is reported it was parked. Which was it? Driving or parked? Also, it looks like the fire started in the passeger compartment and not the engine compartment based on the concentration of the flames. Weird.
Caitlin Mazzola (Editor) September 07, 2012 at 03:30 PM
Fairfield Resident -- it was reported as driving initially but upon a press briefing this morning it has been updated for this new article and in the original article (noted with an Editor's Note). The official detail is it had been parked at the time of the blaze, not driving. You are correct -- police believe the flames originated from the interior of the vehicle, not the engine compartment.
Fairfield Resident September 07, 2012 at 03:45 PM
Very interesting. Thank you for the clarification Caitlin!
Fairfielder September 08, 2012 at 04:10 PM
I wonder if this guy was shaking and baking some crystal meth? There arent that many reasons for a car to explode starting in the cab...
Rick September 08, 2012 at 05:58 PM
Huffing canned air in an enclosed space then lighting a cigarette is no way to go through life, son.


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