Fatal fire in Oklahoma's Sequoyah County is 'bizarre,' sheriff says ..
A retired man's burned body was found in his home. One fire investigator said the man's death appeared to be from “spontaneous combustion.”
The torso of Danny Vanzandt, 65, was burned to ash. But his head and face were intact. The only damage in the house was on the floor underneath Vanzandt's body, and throughout the house the only damage was from smoke not flames, Sheriff Lockhart said.
No fire accelerant was used, and the body appeared to have burned slowly, Lockhart said.
Another fire investigator who responded Monday to the scene between Sallisaw and Muldrow said the man appeared to have “spontaneously combusted,” Lockhart said.
“It's bizarre,” he said.
Lockhart, a former arson investigator for the Fort Smith (Ark.) Police Department, said he has never seen a case of someone spontaneously combusting, but he can't rule it out.
“I've never seen anything like this,” he said. “We've got a body with the torso incinerated.”
About 10:50 a.m. Monday a neighbor saw smoke coming from inside Vanzandt's home about four miles west of Muldrow on Bawcom Road.
Vanzandt weighed about 190 pounds, was retired and lived alone. He has no known criminal history.
He was known to drink and smoke heavily. His relatives told investigators he never drank water and rarely bathed, Lockhart said.
The body was taken to the state medical examiner's office in Tulsa, where an autopsy will be performed to determine a cause and manner of death.
There have been more than anecdotal recent incidents attributed to Spontaneous Human Combustion (S.H.C).
In November, 2011, a man standing outside a record store in the city of Gothenburg's train station suddenly burst into flames. But an off-duty tram driver was able to tackle and extinguish the fire.
Michael Faherty, 76, died at his home in Galway, Eire, on 22 December 2010. A coroner ruled the case to be S.H.C.
And in April 2011, another man spontaneously combusted inside a porn shop in San Francisco, USA.
|A victim of S.H.C - note the unscathed surroundings|
The effect is that their bodies literally turn to ash, but leaving other parts unscathed as with the immediate surroundings untouched.
Scientists have been at a loss to find a solution, because for the manner these victims have burnt, you would ordinarily need a commercial incinerator as used in crematoriums.
Originally, scientists believed that these people - both male and female, old or young, died through an outside body source of ignition which triggered a combustion within their body fat.
This was dubbed, `The Wick Effect`, but despite using pig corpses to replicate this, it has been so far unsuccessful. But why, if true, would it spare other parts of the body and not trigger a blaze around the body?
This undoubtedly is one of the great mysteries that has yet to be resolved, and despite numerous theories.
Alcohol was at one time blamed, but subsequent tests on some remains prove this not to be so.
Tall or short, fat or thin, you are just as much likely to be a victim.
But like many things that exist in the world of the paranormal, there are always half-hearted excuses, but very little proof.