A stolen car slammed head-on into a tree and burst into flames in Woodland Park before dawn Tuesday, killing an as-yet unidentified occupant, authorities said.
Members of West Paterson Fire Department doused the blaze and extricated the deceased victim after the 2012 Ford Mustang crashed on McBride Avenue near Hughes Place around 5:30 a.m., Acting Police Chief John Uzzalino said.
"It was a bad scene," Mayor Keith Kazmark said.
The first responder at the scene, Borough Police Officer Derrick Morrison, found the blazing Mustang and a witness who said there was someone inside, Uzzalino said.
"Any attempt to rescue the victim could not be completed...due to the vehicle being fully engulfed," the chief said.
The victim was pronounced dead at the scene, he said.
The body was turned over to the New Jersey Medical Examiner's Office to determine the victim's identity, Uzzalino said.
The Mustang had been reported stolen out of Passaic, he said.
The chief asked that anyone who could identify the driver contact Detective Omaira Carino at (973) 345-1119 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
McBride Avenue between Lackawanna Avenue and Memorial Drive was expected to remain closed for several hours, with police providing traffic control for the nearby Memorial Middle and Beatrice Gilmore schools.
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