A man died near the front door of his West Side house in a fire, possibly caused by his smoking a cigarette near his oxygen tank.
The cause is under investigation, but the fire isn’t considered suspicious, said Capt. Alvin Ware, the department’s chief fire investigator.
The fire started about 1 p.m. Thursday and destroyed the 11/2-story structure at 362 Broadview Ave., said Fire Chief John J. O’Neill Jr.
The victim was identified by fire officials as Mike Fergus, 53.
Fire officials say this is the first fatal fire in the city since Nov. 7, 2011, when a 45-year-old man died in a blaze at a Pine Hollow Drive duplex on the South Side.
Fergus was found dead by firefighters just a few feet away from his front door, O’Neill said. He was connected to an oxygen tank.
“Our crews got to him in a few minutes after the fire, but he didn’t make it,” O’Neill said.
John Fergus, the victim’s brother, was sleeping in the rear of the house when the fire started. He was able to escape out the back of the structure, O’Neill said.
John Fergus told fire investigators that his brother was a smoker and on oxygen for a medical condition.
A cause hasn’t been determined, but one of the possibilities is Mike Fergus was smoking near his oxygen tank, Ware said.
The fire started in a front room where the victim was located, Ware said.
John Fergus woke up when he heard the sound of the smoke detector, but because of the fire and smoke, he wasn’t able to get to his brother.
The body was turned over to the Mahoning County Coroner’s Office for an autopsy.
An official cause-of-death ruling could take a couple of days to a couple of weeks, Ware said.
The coroner’s office had no comment Thursday.