BANGOR (AP) — Surveillance videos may shed some 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 driving by minutes before the fire began.
Stratham Tire manager Jeff Gordon said his surveillance video showed an orange glow just three minutes after vehicles headed in that general direction. The burning car, off camera, was about 100 yards away in a different parking lot.
Another video, from Automatic Distributors, showed a person running away from the location near Target Industrial Circle.
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. 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.”
With the deaths declared suspicious, the bodies were recovered Monday afternoon from the sedan and taken to the state medical examiner’s office for autopsies that could help identify the victims, said police Sgt. Paul Edwards.
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 comment on what the videos contained.
Edwards said law enforcement authorities were moving in a methodical manner, collecting evidence and getting the bodies identified.
At this, point nothing has been ruled out, Edwards said. “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 state police and the state fire marshal’s office were at the scene Monday afternoon. A tent was set up for processing evidence, as well.
Reached at her workplace, Walls said it never occurred to her that anyone might have been inside the vehicle and that 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.”