CLAVERACK — Police continue to investigate the deaths of two men killed in a fiery one-car accident early Sunday morning in Claverack, Aaron Hicks, public information officer for state police Troop K, said Monday.

Police are withholding the identities of the two men pending autopsy results, which are expected on Tuesday, Hicks said.

At about 1:01 a.m., Columbia County 911 sent first responders to an area near 69 Preusser Road after receiving reports that a car had struck a utility pole and was on fire, with people trapped inside the vehicle.

The first firefighters to arrive on the scene reported the car was fully engulfed in flames and one person was still inside. A second victim was reported to be out of the car, but was badly burned, fire officials said.

A Life Net helicopter was requested and arrived about 20 minutes later in a field next to the accident site.

The unidentified man who was trapped in the car was pronounced dead at the scene by Columbia County Coroner Daniel Herrick, Hicks said.

The second unidentified man was airlifted to Albany Medical Center, but died after reaching the hospital, Hicks said.

Firefighters worked on extinguishing the fire in the vehicle, which had also spread to the utility pole.

Preusser Road was closed for several hours while emergency crews worked at the crash site. The road remained closed after that while the state police Collision Reconstruction Unit investigated.

Unsafe speed may have been a factor in the crash, Hicks said.

State police investigated. They were assisted by the Columbia County Sheriff’s Office.

Responding to the scene were Philmont Fire Company and Greenport Rescue Squad. Mutual aid was requested from Mellenville Fire Company and an additional ambulance from Greenport Rescue and Northern Dutchess Paramedics.

Also responding to the scene was New York State Electric and Gas and Verizon to deal with power and phone lines.

Churchtown Fire Company assisted with traffic control. The Columbia County Fire Coordinators Office also assisted at the scene.

Philmont Fire Company was back in service at 6:05 a.m.

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Johnson Newspapers 7.1

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