The West

Spontaneous combustion theory in man s death
Police are investigationg following the death of Danny Vanzandt. Photo: KFSM

Police in America are investigating what they believe could be a case of spontaneous combustion after the charred remains of a man were found in his home in Tulsa, Oklahoma.

Investigators say there was no other fire damage and there was no evidence of an accelerant being used.

Sequoyah County Sheriff Ron Lockhart told that deputies were called to the house after a neighbour saw smoke coming from the home.

Sheriff Lockhart said they found the nearly completely charred remains of a man in the kitchen.

The man was identified as 65-year-old Danny Vanzandt, according to local reports.

The man's remains have been sent to the medical examiner.

Sheriff Lockhart told 5News: “The body was burned and it was incinerated. This is a case that I’ve never seen before.

"This is very bizarre. You’re thinking someone poured something on him, but there was no fire source.

"The body was burned and it was incinerated. I think there is only about 200 cases (of spontaneous combustion) worldwide. I'm not saying this is what it is, but I haven't ruled it out."

Authorities said the man had a history of heavy drinking and smoking, according to Tulsa World.

But Sheriff Lockhart said the way his body was burned was inconsistent with an accidental fire - such as from a cigarette dropping.

A baffled coroner ruled last year that a man who burned to death in his home died as a result of spontaneous human combustion.

In other cases of apparent spontaneous human combustion, in December 2001, a 73-year-old woman in Garden Grove, California, died from the third-degree burns to 90 percent of her body.

The fire took only four minutes to extinguish and was confined to a couch, a table, and the chair in which the victim was sitting.

On March 24, 1997, John O'Connor, 76, was found dead in his living room at Gortaleen in northern Ireland.

An intense and localized heat had left only his head, upper torso, and feet unburned, as well as the chair in which he was sitting.

There was very little smoke damage done to the room or the furniture.

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