Victim in Car Fire Death Tentatively Identified
JACKSON, Tenn. — In the ongoing death investigation, Jackson police and the assistant county medical examiner have tentatively identified the victim in Monday’s death. The suspected victim’s medical information has been sent to the state Medical Examiner’s Office in Nashville to assist them with identification. An examination at today’s autopsy showed no suspicious injuries to the body, other than burns. Investigators have also positively identified the car as a black 2008 Pontiac Grand Prix, and the car’s owner is the suspected victim. At 5:34 p.m. Monday, the Jackson Fire Department was called about a brush fire off the dead end of Ash Street. Firefighters responded and found a car in a field and fully engulfed in flames. The fire was put out and a body was discovered just outside the car. Jackson police and an assistant county medical examiner responded to the scene. The body was burnt beyond recognition, but it appeared to be that of a man. The body was transported to the state Medical Examiner’s Office in Nashville. The investigation into the fire shows that the vehicle traveled into a dried vegetation area in excess of six feet tall. The car was high-center on the crest of a ditch length-ways of the car. The car had driven through the field of high vegetation until it came to rest on the ridge of a ditch. The car was tilted at about a 20 degree angle with the passenger side on the down-hill side. The body was in a ditch down-hill of the car. After further investigation of the scene and the car at the impound lot, the cause of the fire was the conduction of heat given off by the car’s own components of its underside. This conduction heated the surrounding vegetation to a point as to cause the vegetation to obtain its autoignition temperature. Once the vegetation started burning a chain of events caused the car to burn completely. The ditch, where the body was located, had a large amount of gasoline residue in it, and this is due to the car’s gas tank melting and fuel draining down into the ditch. The fire has been ruled accidental in cause and origin. Investigators also observed exploded aerosol cans inside the burned car and all four tires were flat. This could explain the popping noises heard by witnesses during the fire.