Friday, November 26, 2021
Nov. 26, 2021

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Man found dead after car explosion in VanMall neighborhood (with video)

By , Columbian Breaking News Reporter

Investigators remain on the scene of a explosion that killed a man in a car in the VanMall neighborhood early Tuesday, according to the Vancouver Police Department.

Investigators are taking extra precautions to clear the scene due to various potentially dangerous chemical components involved.

“At this point in time, this explosion appears to be isolated in nature,” Vancouver Police Department Sgt. Kathy McNicholas said in a press release.

McNicholas said there are no known outstanding persons of interest and no reasons to believe that there is any danger to the community in relation to this incident.

She said police will not be able to release any further information on the incident until further notice.

The man was found dead in a vehicle after it reportedly exploded in the VanMall neighborhood early this morning.

Darek Whiteaker, 47, was pulling out of his driveway in the 9100 block of Northeast 54th Street just before 3:30 a.m. on his way to a job as a truck driver when he heard an explosion.

“I probably backed up a couple feet when I heard the explosion,” he said. “I felt the concussions.”

When he drove by the vehicle, the hazard lights were on and there was glass and foam in the street. He described the roof of the vehicle as puffed up.

“Every window of the car was completely blown out,” he said.

He called 911 and told dispatchers what he saw. He shined his headlights on the car and gave them the details, including the license plate number.

Whiteaker said he didn’t see anyone around the vehicle when it exploded. To be safe, he kept his distance.

“I was afraid it might blow up again … I didn’t want to risk my life,” he said. “I waited to see if there was any movement in the car and there wasn’t.”

He then called his house and made sure his kids were inside. Once police arrived and took over, he went to work.

Police have not released any information about the man’s identity or any more details about how the explosion happened.

Vancouver Police Department’s Major Crime Unit is investigating, along with Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, FBI and the Metropolitan Explosive Disposal Unit.

This story will be updated when more information becomes available.

View a video of police activity on The Columbian’s YouTube Channel.

Columbian Breaking News Reporter