Police are considering using a private laboratory to examine evidence from the car fire that engulfed a Fairfield University student in Tunxis Hill Park, although they believe the malfunction that sparked the Sept. 6 blaze was electrical in nature.

Justin Hervey, 23, a Fairfield University student from Armonk, N.Y., remains in critical condition in the burn unit at Bridgeport Hospital. Hervey was able to tell rescuers that he had been having trouble with his SUV, police said.

Inside the vehicle was an extra gas can that Hervey had recently filled, but contrary to a recent television report, police said they were aware of the existence of that gas can at the start of their investigation into what sparked the inferno.

"The detectives already knew that," Sgt. Suzanne Lussier, a police spokeswoman, said Friday. "The family said it was common practice for him to carry an extra gas can, and that he had been having mechanical problems with the vehicle."

Hervey had pulled into the parking lot near Tunxis Hill Park's Little League field, where two teams were practicing shortly after 6 p.m. Sept. 6. Witnesses at the field said they heard a popping noise and turned to see Hervey's Chevrolet Tahoe engulfed in flames.

Coaches from the Little League teams ran to Hervey, using a blanket to help extinguish the flames that covered his body.

He was conscious when emergency personnel arrived at the scene.

Lussier said the state forensic lab is hesitant to test the evidence since there was no crime involved, so Fairfield detectives are looking to see if they can locate a private lab to do the work.

She said it appears it will take some time before the case is closed.