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Body found inside burning car in Mastic Beach

A car parked next to a Mastic Beach

A car parked next to a Mastic Beach home caught fire on Tuesday, March 9, 2010. A woman was found dead inside the car, officials said.

Firefighters found the body of a person burned beyond recognition Tuesday after they extinguished a blaze inside a car parked at a Mastic Beach home, Suffolk police said.

That car was one of two parked in the driveway on Orchid Drive that were burning when a fire was reported about 1 p.m., police said.

When the first firefighters arrived, not only were the two cars ablaze, but the side of the garage, which had been converted to living quarters, was also beginning to burn, fire officials said.

Mastic Beach Fire Chief Anthony Capersino said it did not take long for firefighters to extinguish the fire. "Within five minutes we had a Signal Four under control," he said. "When we started knocking down the fire and we noticed something in the vehicle, but we couldn't really tell what it was. . . . Once the smoke cleared up, you were able to tell that there was a body in the vehicle."

Arson and homicide detectives were called and arrived there within 20 minutes, Capersino said.

Homicide detectives confirmed that the body found in the driver's seat of the parked Saturn was burned too badly for any immediate identification, even as to whether the person was a woman or man.

But area residents said they feared the person may have been a woman, about 50 years old, who lives at that address and has not been seen since the fire.

Police investigators declined to speculate on the cause of the person's death or the cause of the fire.

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