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Bizarre Death of OK Man May Have Been Caused by "Spontaneous Human Combustion"

Update Date: Feb 20, 2013 11:30 AM EST
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Sequoyah County Sheriff Ron Lockhart said based on the evidence it was unlikely that the victim died in an accidental fire, like one caused by dropping a cigarette.
(Photo : KFSM)

Oklahoma police said that a man who was found dead in his kitchen may have died as a result of spontaneous human combustion after they found his burned body in his home but no other fire damage or evidence of accelerant use.

Sequoyah County police are now determining the circumstances surrounding the mysterious death of Danny Vanzandt, 65, after his smoldering remains were found at his Tulsa home on Monday.

"The body was burned and it was incinerated," Sequoyah County Sheriff Ron Lockhart told KSDK. "There was no damage to the furniture or anything around the fire, so it was a low heat fire."

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Vanzandt's neighbors had called the police after they say smoke coming from his house. When police arrived at Vanzandt's home they tried to put out what appeared to be a pile of burning trash in the middle of the room.

However, after the smoke had cleared, they soon realized that the pile of burning debris was in fact a body.

Lockhart, who has spent two decades investigating arson attacks for authorities, said that he had never seen anything like it.

"This is very bizarre. You're thinking someone poured something on him, but there was no fire source," Lockhart said, according to the Daily News. "I think there's only 200 cases (of spontaneous combustion) worldwide."

When reporters asked Lockhart if he seriously believed that Vanzandt's death was a case of spontaneous human combustion he insisted that if could have been.

"I'm not saying this is what it is, but I haven't ruled it out," he said, adding that he, however, did rule out homicide as a possible cause of death, according to 5NEWS.

"There is some burning I guess in the trachea, so the cause of death is gone be probably heat and smoke inhalation," Lockhart said, noting that Vanzandt's body may have burned for 10 hours.

"The body is burned, incinerated, like I've never seen before and it's some kind of chemical reaction or something the way I can see it," Lockhart said.

According to police reports, Vanzandt was an alcoholic and heavy smoker, and Lockhart believes that the 65-year-old may have been a victim to his own vices.

"We wasn't saying the guy just busted into flames, you know there's gotta have an ignition source and that's what we're looking at is an ignition source such as lighting a cigarette and catches himself on fire, sucks the flames down his throat, and falls down," Lockhart said, according to 5NEWS.

Mysterious Cases Of Spontaneous Human Combustion

 

 

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