A suspicious car fire in Steuben County leaves one person dead. It happened in the parking lot of Arkport Truck Repair on State Route 961F early Monday morning. Our Lara Greenberg tells us what officials are doing to identify the victim and find out exactly what happened.
ARKPORT, N.Y. -- Ash and charred car parts lay in the parking lot of Arkport Truck Repair, where a car fire broke out at 3 a.m. Monday. It destroyed the car and left one person dead.
"We treat every death like this suspicious because there's no obvious reason for this to occur where it occurred and in the manner that it occurred," said Steuben County Sheriff Joel Ordway.
But whatever happened here it's clear that it was serious. The car left behind a black imprint on the ground and little pieces of melted metal.
The body was sent to the Monroe County Medical Examiner's Office, where they'll compare dental records for identification. The car, now at the Steuben County Impound, was registered to Tommy Ames.
"It appeared to start on the right side."
John Giles owns the repair shop and knows Ames and his family well.
"Tommy was a nice guy. He would do anything for anybody. And a lot of work that he put into covering the racetracks around here was just out of the love of the sport and the kindness of his heart," said Giles.
Officials are unsure if this was a result of arson or if the fire was electrical. But officials and Giles agree it was unusual.
"I've racked my brain over it. The right side of the car is burnt and that doesn't make sense because your fuel lines are over on the left side so it's just odd, strange."
A strange and tragic incident that has left behind more questions than answers.
Officials hope to identify the victim by the end of the day Tuesday. The investigation continues.