We may never know what caused a car to crash into an unoccupied home off of Route 6 in Princeton, Illinois Monday night. The car hit the house causing a fire engulfing the entire structure.
The Bureau County Coroner identified the man found in the car as 33-year-old Nicholas Stocking of Princeton, Illinois. But because of the nature of the flames, the cause of death is undetermined.
Looking back days later, Princeton Fire Chief Chuck Woolley says the way they fought the fire wouldn't have changed dramatically even if they knew the car was lodged inside.
"Initially it might have been altered somewhat. But we would of initially had to have knocked the fire down getting to it. But once we discovered it, it was obviously too late," says Woolley.
Chief Woolley says the department's first priority is to get the fire under control, but they usually try to conserve evidence as best as possible after. The vehicle was already totaled by the time it was discovered.
The man who previously owned the home died days before the incident, leaving oxygen tanks inside. These posed a real danger to fire crews.
"There were fairly large explosions that shook the ground from blowing up. They were kind of like missiles," says Woolley.
The icy cold weather also made things harder.