Fatal car fire near Audubon ruled accidental

The Milford Fire Marshal’s office has determined that last week’s fatal car fire, in which resident Richard Weir, 72, died, was accidental.

“The driver/victim drove the vehicle off of the road and onto the boardwalk,” officials said in a press release. “After driving on the boardwalk for approximately 100 feet, the passenger side tires traveled off the side of the boardwalk and became lodged in the sand. The driver/victim attempted to continue moving forward, but was unsuccessful.”

Officials said that components of the exhaust system came in contact with the wood planking on the boardwalk causing them to burn. Significant temperatures and duration of contact then caused the planking of the boardwalk to ignite. The fire then extended to the vehicle causing it to become fully engulfed with the driver still inside.

“This fire has been determined to be accidental,” fire officials said, adding that the investigation is now closed..

People who knew him said Weir, a longtime Milford resident, had recently been released from jail, where he was serving time for embezzling from several local charities, including the Milford Rotary Club, where he was treasurer, as well as funds from two other non-profits, the  Milford Special Olympics and the Milford Club.

His body was found late last Friday night inside a burning car near the Connecticut Audubon Coastal Center.

According to Fire Battalion Chief Anthony Fabrizi, at about 10:30 p.m. Friday, Oct. 7, Milford firefighters responded to a report of a car fire in the area of 1 Milford Point Road.

When they arrived, they found a car fully engulfed in flames near the Connecticut Audubon Society. Fire crews deployed a hose line to extinguish the blaze, and discovered the body inside the vehicle.

The area where the car was found can be accessed either through the Audubon lot or a private road that leads out to a gated section of homes. Both gates are usually closed at night. The car was burning to the left of the private road that leads to the private homes, atop a wooden walkway that leads to the beach. That section of the boardwalk is now blackened and charred.