Ames Police: ‘So many unanswered questions’ following vehicle fire, fatality

Authorities are investigating the death of an individual who was found inside a vehicle that had caught fire outside of Walmart in south Ames on Wednesday.

According to Ames Police Sergeant Amber Christian, “hundreds” of 911 calls were placed Wednesday evening regarding a vehicle that was seen engulfed in flames on the far west side of the Walmart parking lot at 534 South Duff Avenue.

The Ames Police Department and Ames Fire Department responded to the scene at approximately 6:48 p.m., per a press release. Christian explained that the fire took place “away from the store and not around other vehicles.” She added that the vehicle was a blue 2013 Ford Fusion with Iowa license plates. However, it is not believed the vehicle was registered in Story County.

A deceased individual was later found inside the vehicle. Christian told StoryCounty.News that the identity of the victim is being withheld pending notification of next of kin. An autopsy is expected to be performed Friday, according to Christian. The victim is believed to be an adult.

Police and fire officials are investigating the incident in conjunction with Iowa State Fire Marshal Division, ITF, and the Iowa Office of the State Medical Examiner. The press release stated that police do not believe there is an ongoing threat to the public.

“There are just so many unanswered questions right now because of the unfortunate circumstances,” Christian concluded.

Anyone with information regarding the incident is asked to call Ames PD at 515-239-5133. Anonymous tips can be submitted by calling 515-239-5533 or online at

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