Prescott man dies in house fire
PRESCOTT: A cigarette burning near home oxygen equipment has been blamed for the death of a 64-year-old Prescott man and an extensive house fire that brought out three fire departments mid-afternoon Saturday.
Ken Sigerson, 411 Young St., is believed to have been relaxing in his living room recliner when he either fell asleep or possibly discarded a burning cigarette that sparked a fire causing a home oxygen tank to explode about 2:20 p.m.
Fire Chief Bill Dravis and Police Chief Scott Brownell confirmed, in a press release issued Monday morning, that the fire started in the living room.
Ken's wife, Mary, had been out grocery shopping when she returned home and entered to find their single-story house filled with smoke. She quickly exited and ran to the front door, off the living room to reach her husband. Sometime during the period there was one explosion, then a second, according to a neighbor.
Within seconds, the house was engulfed in flames.
Prescott firefighters arrived and knocked down the fire within a few minutes but Sigerson was already dead. A group of firefighters carried his body out the front door about 2:40 p.m. while Prescott EMTs tried to shield the scene from neighbors and observers on the street.
A neighbor across the street from the Sigersons, David Peterson, said the couple had lived in the home for at least 20 years. He understood Mr. Sigerson had been sick for several years and knew him to be on home oxygen.
Coroner Susan Dzubay ruled Sigerson's death as accidental - the result of careless use of smoking materials in the vicinity of oxygen.
"Mr. Sigerson was known to continue to smoke despite oxygen use in the house," she said.
The first call to a Pierce County sheriff's dispatcher came at 2:24 p.m. from a neighbor who reported heavy smoke coming from the home. Within seconds, another caller reported hearing at least one explosion.
Prescott fire officials quickly requested help from Hastings and River Falls firefighters.