Man dies after wheelchair catches fire while smoking outside nursing home

Posted at 7:39 AM, Apr 24, 2019
and last updated 2019-04-24 07:39:03-04

OAKWOOD VILLAGE, Ohio - Oakwood Village police are investigating after a man in a wheelchair caught on fire while smoking a cigarette and later died, according to WJW.

“We got the call April 17th, it was after lunchtime. It was for a wheelchair that was on fire,” said Detective Ed Thyret with the Oakwood Village Police Department.

Thyret 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, facedown,” said Thyret.

Police say Joseph Konopa of Bedford was allegedly smoking outside the Grande Oaks nursing home while using an oxygen tank when his wheelchair caught fire.

Someone driving by noticed the flames and immediately called the police.

“I noticed the male wasn’t breathing. As we got him rolled over, he had no pulse and wasn’t breathing so I administered CPR until our fire department got there,” said Thyret.

Konopa was taken to a nearby hospital where he later died from his injuries.

Phone calls to Embassy Healthcare, the company that manages Grande Oaks, have not been returned.