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Police: Man Dies After Wheelchair Caught Fire While Smoking Outside Nursing Home

OAKWOOD VILLAGE, Ohio (CBS Local) -- A man who was smoking while using an oxygen tank outside of a nursing home died last week when his wheelchair caught fire, authorities in Ohio said.

Police say Joseph Konopa walked outside the Grande Oaks Nursing and Rehabilitation on April 17 to smoke while using an oxygen tank when his wheelchair went up in flames, according to Oakwood Village police.

A good Samaritan driving by noticed the flames and immediately called the police.

"The wheelchair is on fire," the witness could be heard telling dispatchers. "He's on the ground."

Detective Ed Thyret with the Oakwood Village Police Department 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.

Thyret said Konopa wasn't breathing and had no pulse when he arrived on scene. Konopa was taken to a nearby hospital where he later died from his injuries.

Embassy Healthcare, the company that manages Grande Oaks, said while it is "unable to discuss specific resident information," it is "cooperating fully with state and local governing bodies on this investigation."

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