An Oklahoma medical examiner's report on the death of a Muldrow, Okla., man suggests he suffered a heart attack before falling on a cigarette at his home back in February, CBS-affilate in Fort Smith, KFSM is reporting.
The charred body of 65-year-old Danny Ray Vandzandt was found in his home on South 4700 Road on Feb. 18. At the time, Sequoyah County Sheriff Ron Lockhart said the signs pointed to spontaneous human combustion as the cause of death, since no nearby items or furniture around the body were burned.
There was no other fire damage to the house and no signs of a struggle, Lockhart said.
The medical examiner's report released Tuesday (Sept. 10) shows Vandzant had severe coronary artery disease and was also a heavy smoker.
"One plausible scenario involves the decedent collapsing and dying (likely due to the coronary artery disease noted at autopsy) on the kitchen floor at which time a lit cigarette ignites the decedent's clothing and burns long enough to split the skin and release adipose tissue onto the clothing and floor and this adipose tissue then becomes the primary fuel source for the fire," the report states.
The man's manner of death was ruled as natural.
The idea of the Oklahoma man dying from rare spontaneous human combustion placed Vandzant's death in national headlines. A researcher with ParaScience International visited Muldrow to study Vandzant's death in March.