Police Investigating Car Explosion in Fairfield

One man was sent to the hospital with severe burns, according to police. The incident occurred at Tunxis Hill Park.

[Editor's Note: Photo courtesy of Stephen Krauchick of DoingItLocal.com. Details of this report were updated Friday following an official press briefing.]


Police identified the victim Friday as Justin Hervey, 23, of Armonk, N.Y. More details .


One person was sent to the hospital with severe burns Thursday after the car he was in caught fire and became engulfed in flames.

The suspected explosion occurred as the vehicle, a dark-colored SUV, was parked near (225 Melville Avenue), where a youth baseball game was taking place, police spokesperson Lt. James Perez said.

Witnesses told police they heard a small pop and looked back to see the vehicle in flames.

One person, a male who police believe was between the ages of 18 and 22, ran out of the car engulged in flames toward the baseball game, Perez said. Police are still determining the man's identity.

Witnesses reportedly told the man to stop and drop to the ground to quell the flames, but he continued to run toward the park and was tackled to the ground, according to Perez.

Emergency responders arrived on scene and the man was transported to Bridgeport Hospital, where police said he remains in serious condition as of 8:20 p.m.

"This is a tragic end to the summer," Perez said. "We don't know how or why it happened, but officials are investigating."

Fairfield's fire marshal and members of the detective bureau remained on scene Thursday to sift the vehicle for evidence. The SUV had New York plates, according to Perez.

Perez encouraged parents and children at the baseball game who witnessed the scene to seek counseling through Fairfield's schools.

Fairfield Resident September 07, 2012 at 12:20 PM
I wonder if it was a car bomb. Cars don't normally "explode" while just driving along. They do however catch on fire.....BTDT! That was scarry!
Jim Eastwood September 07, 2012 at 12:59 PM
How about something More possible Drugs ?????
Fairfield Resident September 07, 2012 at 01:08 PM
You mean like a portable Meth Lab, Jim? That could explode.
Pi September 07, 2012 at 01:57 PM
You are a despicable person. This kid is in the hospital fighting for his life with severe burns and you come on here to speculate he was involved with drugs. That's disgusting. This kid and his parents are going through enough as it is. They don't need to see this garbage. That it's coming from your mouth doesn't surprise me. You are a laughing stock in this town.
Fairfield Resident September 07, 2012 at 03:24 PM
kathleen September 07, 2012 at 09:31 PM
Terrible thing to say at this time. Prayers not speculation would be appropriate - shame on you.
Jason Silver September 08, 2012 at 01:48 AM
Sure Kathleen....put your hands over your eyes and hide from reality. Cars don't just catch on fire, starting in the interior, for no reason. Something fishy is going on here. But why should anyone speak of that? Yes its terrible what happened...but it IS possible that he brought this upon himself.
Pi September 08, 2012 at 02:25 AM
Cars catch on fire all of the time inside the interior. All of your windows, your locks, your dash instruments, your stereo, and whatever else you may have in there. You have all of the wires running towards the back for your blinkers, tail lights and reverse lights. You have thousands of feet of wire going through your car. Any one of those wires could short and catch fire creating this tragic outcome. No, it's better to speculate that he was on drugs or whatever you guys are talking about. Hitch yourself the the Crazy Jim Eastwood wagon. Let me know how that works out for you.
Fairfield Resident September 08, 2012 at 02:57 PM
"Cars catch on fire all of the time inside the interior." Uh..............no they don't. Engine fires are the most frequent cause for cars/trucks to go up in flames. Something very unusual had to happen for the interior of a car to catch on fire that quickly! Electrical, like you suggest, tend to smolder for quite a while. There is no "explosive" source of fuel in the interior like there is in the engine compartment. Let's say a lit cigarette butt fell between the seat cushions or on the carpet. That would smolder / smoke for a while because of the flame retardent qualities of the interior fabrics/plastics. The same would happen with an electrical fire. Certainly someone would see that smoke and have enough time to get out of the vehicle. Now, if the young lad had been carrying a freshly filled gas can or propane cylinder in the vehicle and didn't seal the container / tightly close the shut-off valve, fumes could have built up in the vehicle to an explosive level and all it would take is a spark from lighting a cigarette or even turning on the ignition (less likely, but still possible as the electronic systems in cars are not intrinsically safe) and KABOOM!! That is why I always drive with all of my windows down, regardless of the weather, when I bring home a freshly filled gas can or propane tank. We will just have to see what the investigators find. I hope Patch.com follows-up with an article with their findings.
Pi September 08, 2012 at 03:31 PM
Just because engine fires are the most frequent cause of car fires doesn't mean interior car fires don't happen frequently. It's just that engine fires are more frequent. Even if it was a leaking propane tank or a spilled container of gasoline, that's still not drugs like Jim Eastwood speculated.
Jim Eastwood September 08, 2012 at 04:03 PM
Fairfield Resident You arfe correct in your statement !! And PI I never said it was drugs--But however that fire from the pictures is centered around the front seats on the passenger compartment. Fires do not "Explode" like that but like the Fairfield Redidentt points out, they are slow burning giving the driver plently of time to get ut. Have a Great Day !!!!!
Pi September 08, 2012 at 06:03 PM
This is what you said: "How about something More possible Drugs ?????" Are YOU on drugs?
johndoe278 September 08, 2012 at 09:44 PM
Eastwood and Ffld resident what life experience do you have dealing with car fires? Why don't we let the professionals speculate to the cause and just offer support and prayers to all of those effected by this incident.
Pi September 09, 2012 at 02:23 AM
Jim Eastwood is a fireman. He's also a giant nuisance and one of the crazier characters in Fairfield. He has quite the reputation in this town and none of it good. Read through his posts on the Patch and you can see what a lunatic he is.
FFLDRESIDENT September 09, 2012 at 05:10 AM
My thoughts and prayers go out to this young man and his family. Hopefully he is on his way to recovery, and I’m hoping it’s a short road. But I do tend to agree with Jim Eastwood and Fairfield Resident. Cars do not “explode” without a volatile source, ignition, and oxygen. Engine fires, dropped cigarettes, etc. tend to build slowly. Perhaps there was an unknown gas leak, a faulty battery¸ propane or lawnmower fuel in the vehicle, etc.? We can speculate all we like, but I’m sure the FFD will publish its findings once their investigation is complete.
Pi September 09, 2012 at 01:06 PM
Please listen. I'm not arguing whether the source of the fire was from the car or the driver. That's not the issue at all. It was that Jim suddenly jumped to drugs and Fairfield Resident wondered out loud if he had a meth lab in his trunk. When the user kathleen spoke out against people speculating that the cause of this was something illegal, that's when users acted like she and I believe it was spontaneous combustion. No. We just believe that you shouldn't accuse the kid of being on drugs or manufacturing meth while he lies dying in the hospital. Somehow the brain dead commentators on the Patch have turned that into thinking mystical forces were at play. It's sad how the editor of the Patch has allowed the stupid and insane to take over this site. This site isn't that old but there was a time when you could have a decent conversation with people. Those days are over.
John Jameson September 09, 2012 at 04:05 PM
Ya know what? I had a car fire a few years back. It started in the dashboard. I was able to put it out quickly, but called the fire department anyway. I had to flag them down, because they didn't realize it was my car--which from the outside looked just fine. They checked out the engine to make sure there weren't any other issues -- the engine compartment was just fine. So yes, fires can and do start in the interior without any "portable meth labs."
Jason Silver September 09, 2012 at 04:11 PM
To not think something fishy happened here, is to blind yourself from reality. Sad what happened, yes. Thoughts with the family, yes. But listen...young guy in the car alone at the park. Whats he doing there? And what did he do to start the fire? Could he have brought this upon himself? Sure. Common sense folks. And if he was doing something "illegal" like "lighting up drugs" he put a lot of other people, in danger as well. I'm willing to hear what the official investigation concludes, but I'll say it again....It looks fishy!
Pi September 09, 2012 at 05:41 PM
A guy could be in that park for any number of reasons. He could have been making a phone call. He could have had a great idea for a paper he was writing and stopped to write it down. He could have been resting before making the long drive back to his home in NY. How about this? And this might be too logical for your conspiracies but maybe, JUST MAYBE, he realized there was something wrong with his car so he pulled off to have a look? If I was looking to "light up drugs", the last place I would pick would be a pretty open park where there is a youth baseball game going on 50 feet away.
John Jameson September 09, 2012 at 06:55 PM
What I understood from the various news reports was that he had pulled into that parking lot because of car trouble.
New to Southport September 10, 2012 at 01:10 PM
Is PJ the only logical person on this site? I thought this was Fairfield. The simple point and fact is that a young kid is in the hospital with severe burns and apparently fighting for his life. There very well may be something "fishy" as one person pointed out. But there was no evidence of it in the article and this is not the forum to spout off your theories. If you would like to say something, make it well wishes towards his recovery, or for the kids who witnessed this to not have nightmares, or for the hero who tackled a burning stranger to help him and potentially protect the kids. If it turns out that the kid was involved in undesirable activities, then you will have been right with your negative theories and you can brag to you friends how great you are at solving crimes thanks to CSI. But if you are wrong, then shame on you and think of the damage and anger you could have caused someone in his family or a friend of the kid reading this venom. What if it was your son or nephew? Now which one has a better upside? Wishing everyone a speedy recovery.
Fairfield Resident September 10, 2012 at 05:02 PM
Dear New to Southport, Who is this "PJ" you speak of? Also, you state: ".........and this is not the forum to spout off your theories." Please explain why not. I thought forums like these were made to ENCOURAGE public discourse on matters and issues both inside and outside our quaint little Town of Fairfield. Another interesting statement you made: "If you would like to say something, make it well wishes towards his recovery, or for the kids who witnessed this to not have nightmares, or for the hero who tackled a burning stranger to help him and potentially protect the kids." That sounds like CENSORSHIP to me. BTW......I came across some new info about a "theory" as to what may have happened: The "Shake and Bake Method" http://alcoholism.about.com/od/meth/a/shake_and_bake.htm "The new method requires little room. All of the necessary items can be carried in a backpack, making the process mobile. Drug users are making meth while driving around in their cars and throwing the used plastic bottles, containing a poisonous brown and white sludge, along the highway." "But the shake and bake method is extremely dangerous. If the bottle is shaken the wrong way, of if any oxygen gets inside of it, or if the cap is loosened too quickly, the bottle can exploded into a giant fireball." Very Interesting.
Pi September 10, 2012 at 07:38 PM
There is a big difference between having a discussion and spouting off idiotic theories. Guess which group you fall into.
Jim Eastwood December 31, 2012 at 12:17 PM
To All Happy New Year And what ever was the end result of this ?? Is the Kid still alive How come this got pushed Under the Rug ??
Brian December 31, 2012 at 08:45 PM
Must be a private matter. Best to respect their privacy.


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