CHICAGO -- A 56-year-old man died early Monday
after catching fire as he smoked a cigarette while
breathing from an oxygen tank in the west suburb of
Jerome Saarines, of 1800 Ottawa Ave. in Ottawa, was
pronounced dead at 3:37 a.m. at Loyola University Medical
Center in Maywood, a Cook County Medical Examiner's
Office spokesman said.
According to hospital staff, the man was smoking in
his room at the Edward Hines Jr. VA Hospital in Hines
while also breathing air from an oxygen tank, Broadview
fire Capt. Ned Thoma said.
The exact cause of the blaze is still under investigation,
but apparently the burning cigarette set fire to the
oxygen at around 4:43 p.m. Sunday, burning the man
and causing a significant amount of damage to the
room, Thoma said.
Paramedics quickly took the man to the hospital emergency
room, and then transferred him to Loyola, Thoma said.
Two other patients in the same hospital room were
not harmed, he added.
Additional information about the victim was not available,
A damage estimate was not immediately available because
of the amount of medical equipment in the room and
the difficulty of determining the equipment's value