Victim ID’d in fatal Springfield car fire

A man killed in a car fire Wednesday possibly drove his car for miles before it burst into flames.

Witnesses as far away as the intersection of North Belmont Avenue and Mitchell Boulevard — more than two miles from where the car fire was extinguished — said they saw smoke pouring from the SUV, said Springfield Fire/Rescue Division Assistant Chief Brian Miller.

The driver of the 2000 Dodge Durango has been identified as George T. Miller, 72, of Newlove Road in South Charleston, according to the Clark County Coroner’s Office.

An autopsy was completed on the victim’s body Thursday morning in Montgomery County, but no initial cause of death has been determined.

Calls to 9-1-1 helped paint a picture of the chaos at the scene that happened around 1 p.m.

One of the first callers reported seeing the smoking SUV run into another SUV at the intersection of U.S. 40 and Fourth Avenue in front of the Chakeres Cinema 10 movie theater.

“I can see the smoke. I’m trying to turn around right now — I’m going back that way,” the male caller said.

A woman then called to report the vehicle burst into flames and a Good Samaritan tried to rescue him.

“They just pulled a guy out of the car; I think he was the only one in there,” she said.

The Springfield News-Sun spoke to the man who pulled George Miller from his car. He said the SUV door would not open so he pulled the man through a window, but his body was already consumed by the flames.

Springfield fire dispatchers then told callers to tell George Miller, who witnesses said was still on fire and moving, to roll on the ground.

The male caller could be heard yelling and asking if any witnesses had a fire extinguisher in their cars.

Miller died at the scene, investigators said.

Clark County Sheriff’s Office deputies, Springfield Police Division officers and firefighters and medics from Springfield and Springfield Twp. arrived at the scene.

Once the fire was extinguished, Springfield fire officials began to look into what might have sparked the flames, Brian Miller said.

The investigation is ongoing, but it is possible the fire started in the engine compartment before it spread to the interior, he said.

The Ohio State Fire Marshal is assisting in the investigation.

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