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Sheriff not ruling out spontaneous human combustion

Posted at 11:11 PM, Feb 18, 2013
and last updated 2013-02-19 00:21:14-05

SEQUOYAH COUNTY, Okla. (WTVR)--Police are investigating whether or not a 65-year-old Oklahoma man died from spontaneously bursting into flames.

Sheriff Ron Lockhart said that emergency crews responded to a call for a house fire after a neighbor spotted smoke coming from Danny Vanzandt's home. When they arrived they found something at first they thought "was just trash that was burning on the kitchen floor."

Then it turned out to be a badly burned, deceased body. Lockhart said that there was no external cause, no accelerant used that would explain the burn.

Even more mysteriously, "there was no damage to the furniture," said the sheriff. There was no damage anywhere else in the house or any signs of struggle, reports affiliates KFSM. 

“I started researching and talking to other fire investigators and we started looking at spontaneous human combustion," Lockhart said in a phone interview with KFSM.

He says they aren't ruling out spontaneous human combustion, even though there have only ever been about "200 cases worldwide."

Lockhart said he never believed it until today.

"If you look at it, i mean everything in here, if you read about spontaneous human combustion, that’s what we have." [Hear the complete interview with Lockhart here]

“I was thinking there’s no way this could happen, but there’s no other source of ignition or why this body is on fire in the middle of the kitchen floor."