SEQUOYAH COUNTY, Okla. – Sequoyah County Sheriff Ron Lockhart said his office is investigating whether an Oklahoma man died after spontaneously bursting into flames.
“This is a case that I’ve never seen before,” Lockhart said.
The sheriff said 65-year-old Danny Vanzandt’s death might be a rare case of spontaneous human combustion.
Authorities said a neighbor called 911 Monday morning after she saw smoke coming from next door.
Vanzandt’s brother, Aaron, said he and his stepson found the body around 11 a.m. and called 911.
“The body was burned and it was incinerated,” Lockhart said.
Fire crews on the scene discovered a badly burned man dead in the kitchen.
Sheriff Lockhart said he is serious spontaneous human combustion could be the cause of the Sequoyah County man’s death.
“If you read about spontaneous human combustion, that’s what we have here,” Lockhart said.
He said no items or furniture near the body were burned and there was no fire damage to the home or signs of a struggle.
“I think there’s only about 200 cases worldwide and I’m not saying this happened I’m just saying that we haven’t ruled it out,” Lockhart said.
Family members said they noticed the back window of the man’s pickup truck was busted out.
The body of the man was sent to the medical examiner’s office in Tulsa.
Authorities are still investigating the incident.
Lockhart said Vanzandt was an alcoholic and an avid smoker.
Our Arkansas sister station, 5NEWS, conducted a recorded five-minute interview with Lockhart in which the sheriff explains why he believes spontaneous human combustion is to blame for Vanzandt’s bizarre death. When asked whether the man could have accidentally killed himself by another cause, such as dropping a cigarette onto himself, Lockhart said the body was burned in such a way as to make it inconsistent with such accidents.