Thursday, December 5, 2013
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The Associated Press
BANGOR — Surveillance videos may shed light on a fire that engulfed a car with three people inside early Monday, with one video showing a person running from the scene and another showing several vehicles passing by minutes before the fire began.
Police investigate a vehicle that burned before dawn today off Target Industrial Circle in Bangor. After the fire was extinguished, three bodies were found inside.
AP / Bangor Daily News, Gabor Degre
With the deaths declared suspicious, the bodies were recovered from the sedan Monday afternoon and taken to the state Medical Examiner's Office for autopsies that could help identify the victims, said police Sgt. Paul Edwards.
The burning car, with Rhode Island license plates, was reported by a radio announcer who saw flames on her way to work at 3:30 a.m. Monday. The intense heat popped the car's tires and burst its windows, leaving behind a blackened hulk.
"It was fully engulfed when I saw it. There was lots of popping and small booms," Kat Walls said. "It was hard to tell it was a car at times because it was so engulfed."
Jeff Gordon, manager of Stratham Tire, said the burning car was about 100 yards from his business, in a different parking lot and out of the range of his surveillance camera. But his video showed an orange glow just three minutes after vehicles headed in that direction.
Another video, from Automatic Distributors, showed a person running from the location near Target Industrial Circle, an employee told the Bangor Daily News.
The car was parked near Automatic Distributors, a parts and equipment wholesaler for all-terrain vehicles, snowmobiles, off-road motorcycles and other outdoor activities.
Police were reviewing surveillance video from a number of businesses, including Stratham Tire and Automatic Distributors, but Edwards declined to say what the videos contained.
Edwards said authorities were moving methodically, collecting evidence and getting the bodies identified.
"All we have now is a fire in a car with three dead people in it, and we're in the beginning stages of trying to piece it together," he said.
Three mobile command posts, from the Bangor Police Department, the Maine State Police and the state Fire Marshal's Office, were at the scene Monday afternoon. A tent was set up for processing evidence.
Reached at her workplace, Walls said it never occurred to her that anyone might be in the burning car. She said she learned about the bodies when a detective arrived during her morning show at 97.1 the Bear.
"It was horrifying -- the idea that I sat there and waited for the fire department while people were burning inside," she said. "I'm struggling with it, actually. It feels horrible."