Fire may be cause of man’s death

By: Kristyne E. Demske | St. Clair Shores Sentinel | Published May 5, 2016

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Cigarettes and an oxygen tank may have caused the death of a 72-year-old man who was found dead inside his burning home April 30.

A witness in the 22000 block of Lange called 911 around 1:21 p.m. that day after seeing a two-story home on that block with flames coming out a window. When fire officials arrived on the scene, bystanders told them there may be a person inside. When crews entered, they discovered that the structure was heavily engulfed in smoke and flames, but they were able to locate the man, who was already deceased, in a bedroom.

According to the police report, there was a medical oxygen tank and cigarettes found in the same room as the man. Fire Chief George Morehouse said that the fire originated in the room where the man was found, but the department was still investigating the exact source of the fire.

As of press time May 5, the department also was waiting for a report back from the Macomb County Medical Examiner's Office as to a cause of death.

“When we find that out, we’ll find out if he had died from natural causes before the fire, or if the fire killed him,” Morehouse said.

The report from St. Clair Shores police indicated that when they made contact with the man’s son, the son said that his father was on oxygen but continually smoked in the house.