Blind Pennsylvania man accidentally sets himself on fire

January 16th, 2015 by Staff

The incident occurred on Tuesday at this home in Stoneycreek Township, Pa.


(Daily Mail) STONEYCREEK TOWNSHIP, Pa. – A blind Pennsylvania man has died after accidentally setting his clothes on fire while trying to warm a towel in a microwave oven.

James Shaffer, 68, told investigators he was warming the towel to put it on his sore leg Tuesday evening in Stonycreek Township. 

But investigators say using a microwave to warm a dry towel will cause it to burn within 15 seconds.

Shaffer didn’t realize the towel was burning, and set his flannel shirt on fire when pulling it out of the microwave.

Once alight, he managed to make his way down the hall to the bathroom and put the flames out using the shower. 

However Oakland Fire Department deputy chief David Ream says Shaffer suffered burns to over 80 percent of his body in the process.

He remained calm and even apologized to emergency responders as he was taken to a Pittsburgh hospital.

‘He was very apologetic, he was telling us every couple of minutes that he was sorry, he should have known better,’ Ream told local station WJAC TV. 

‘He was very, very calm for the situation we had at hand. 
‘We were shocked.

‘He was talking to us, just normally like we’re talking back and forth, with no issues.’

Tragically Shaffer died in hospital early Wednesday, officially from smoke inhalation.

The accident has devastated the tight-knit community of Johnstown.

Neighbors told the local network hat Shaffer had lived in the area for 50 years, and had lived alone for the last 25.

He was described as an extremely intelligent and lovely man.

His family would check on him each day, but said he was more than capable of living alone.

They said Shaffer’s disability had never held him back. 

Taking the incident especially hard is the Oakland Fire Department, who have never had a fire-related death in the area.


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