An Ohio man died a horrific death outside a nursing home where he was a resident after what appears to be an accidental fire.
The tragic incident took place at the Grande Oaks Nursing and Rehabilitation Center in Oakwood Village, Ohio. Police say a man in a wheelchair and on oxygen slipped outside to have a cigarette and inadvertently set himself on fire when the oxygen tank ignited.
The man has been identified as Joseph Konopa of Bedford.
A motorist passing by called the police when she noticed the wheelchair ablaze. By the time rescue workers arrived, the man was lying on the ground and was not breathing.
“The wheelchair is on fire,” the witness could be heard telling dispatchers. “He’s on the ground.”
Oakwood Village Police Detective Ed Thyret was first to the scene.
“I arrived and noticed there was a wheelchair that was smoldering in front of the building with a male laying on the ground, face down,” he told WJW-TV.
Thyret said Konopa “wasn’t breathing and had no pulse” when he arrived on the scene. Konopa was taken to a nearby hospital where he later died from his injuries.
Police say a lighter and cigarettes were found at the scene.
According to CBS Philly, Embassy Healthcare, the company that manages Grande Oaks released a brief statement regarding the incident, saying that they are “unable to discuss specific resident information.”
They went on to say that they intend to cooperate “fully with state and local governing bodies on this investigation.”
The patient was on oxygen while smoking a cigarette outside of the facility, investigators say.
The incident is under investigation.
Please join us in sending prayers for Mr. Konopa's family in the wake of such a horrendous loss. May he rest in peace.