Fire-damaged Audubon walkway reopens

A pathway leading from the Connecticut Audubon Coastal Center in Milford to the water reopened today after being closed since Oct. 7 due to fire and other damage.

The wooden walkway was damaged during a fatal car fire earlier this month.

The wooden planks that were damaged have been removed, uncovering the sand beneath. Pedestrians can now walk across the sand to access the rest of the boardwalk.

One Audubon spokesperson said the sandy walkway will suffice until funds can be raised to replace the wooden planks.

Milford fire officials determined that the fatal car fire that damaged the walkway was an accidental fire. Resident Richard Weir, 72, died in that Oct. 7 blaze.

“The driver/victim drove the vehicle off of the road and onto the boardwalk,” officials said in a press release issued a week after the accident. “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.