Charred body found in Chelsea, Quebec


by Trevor Greenway on July 10, 2009

July 10, 2009 – The charred remains of a 51-year-old Ottawa man were discovered in his burned out van at his Chelsea, Quebec cottage on Cuzner Rd July 8 after he crashed into trees and rocks in his driveway.

The impact caused a fire, destroying the van and burning the body inside.

According to Martin Fournel, spokesperson for the MRC des Collines Police, it is believed that foul play was not involved, although police were initially suspicious.

“It’s not common that we find anyone burned in their own vehicle,” said Fournel.

“We believe it was an accident.”

He added that because the vehicle was in the man’s own driveway and there was an impact involved, the theory of foul play was quickly dismissed.

“If it would have been in a public parking lot somewhere it would have been a different story,” he said.

A visitor to the Kingsmere area cottage called police that morning after he came across the charred vehicle that had spun off the driveway.

According to Fournel, police “strongly believe” that the man was under the influence of alcohol at the time of the crash, which took place sometime between the evening of July 7 and the morning of July 8.

Fournel added that it’s most likely that the fuel line caught fire on impact, but police are still scratching their heads as to why the individual couldn’t escape.

“Why he couldn’t get out, God knows,” said Fournel.

It is unknown whether the crash killed the man or the fire, but an autopsy is scheduled on the man’s body after dental records are retrieved.

Fournel added that finding the cause of death may be difficult, as the blaze completely destroyed the vehicle and nearly disintegrated the body.

“It takes seven to nine minutes to completely burn a vehicle, because of all the materials and plastics inside,” said Fournel.

“It burns really fast.”

The investigation of the accident is ongoing, said Fournel.