FAIRFIELD, Conn. – A Fairfield University student from Armonk, N.Y., remained in critical condition Friday after being engulfed in flames Thursday evening in the parking lot of Tunxis Hill Park. Police identified the victim as 23-year-old Justin Hervey.
Hervey’s Chevrolet Tahoe burst into flames while he was sitting inside it at the Melville Avenue park. Witnesses told police Hervey was fully on fire as he moved toward a Little League practice. He initially ignored bystanders’ suggestions to stop, drop and roll until a pair of parents at the park brought him to the ground and tried to put the fire out with blankets, police said.
Hervey was taken to Bridgeport Hospital’s burn unit once paramedics arrived. As of Friday morning, he still was in critical condition with severe burns all over his body, police said.
Fairfield police arson investigators and the Fairfield Fire Marshal were trying to determine the cause of the fire. Investigators believe the fire started in the SUV’s interior but were still analyzing the evidence. “This is still very much an active investigation,” said Fairfield police spokeswoman Sgt. Suzanne Lussier.
The incident happened in full view of a group of 10- to 12-year-old Little League players. Police have reached out to Parks and Recreation and Fairfield Public Schools officials to arrange for counseling for students who witnessed the incident.