Car fire kills man outside motel room in Bolivar

BOLIVAR, Mo. -- A car fire outside a Bolivar motel killed a man inside it.

It happened Thursday night outside the Red Cedar Motel. Investigators still do not know know what caused the fire, but the Polk County sheriff has surveillance video from the motel. He doesn’t believe foul play was involved. He thinks it was accidental. Citizens around the motel tried to save the man.

“There were other people and bystanders that had saw the smoke, that had stopped by and had tried to assist with extinguishers and things like that but the fire was too far involved when anybody got there to do anything.," said Deputy Fire Chief Brett Watkins of the Bolivar Fire Dept.

And fire crews had their hands full with the fire.

“Flames were probably 10-15 feet, there were multiple explosions because of vehicle parts blowing up," said Watkins. "Smoke was literally seen probably half a mile away.”

Watkins says that car fires are always difficult to put out.

“Car fires are just bad in general," said Watkins. "There are so many alloys, metal alloys, plastics umm car tires explode, obviously you have the fuel tank inside, so they are just a tin can with fuel.”

Despite those challenges, they tried to leave enough evidence so investigators could figure out what happened.

“We try to get the fire out, get it safe, we mediate the situation," said Watkins. "But then also leave enough details and evidence, pieces of the puzzle so that they can figure out and do their job of what happened and why this happened.”

The victim has been identified, but his name has not been released. The Polk County Sheriff's Office said it would release that information as soon as they could.