The Tribune Democrat, Johnstown, PA

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July 17, 2014

Nanty Glo fatal fire: Man may have died fighting blaze

NANTY GLO — William C. Ferguson, 64, may have been using an extinguisher to douse a fire when he was overcome and died of smoke inhalation Thursday morning in his Springfield Street home.

A fire extinguisher was found near Ferguson’s body after firefighters suppressed the small blaze and entered the home, Nanty Glo fire Chief Joseph LaMantia Jr. said.

“We had the fire knocked down within four minutes,” LaMantia said.

Items in one corner of the room were burning, producing heavy smoke that thwarted a neighbor’s rescue attempt. The man said he kicked in the door, but could not enter because of the smoke.

Fire crews from Nanty Glo, Jackson Township, Ebensburg and Colver arrived on the scene within minutes of the 7:36 a.m. call. Most were immediately returned to their stations because the fire was out, LaMantia said.

Ferguson was pronounced dead at the scene of the fire at 8:30 a.m. Thursday by Cambria County Coroner Dennis Kwiatkowski.

The victim had a lung condition that required him to be on oxygen at home, Kwiatkowski noted.

Neighbors said Ferguson had been on oxygen for several years. Two adjoining property owners had taken over mowing Ferguson’s lawn because he was no longer able to do it himself.

Randy Griffith is a reporter for The Tribune-Democrat. Follow him on Twitter @photogriffer57.

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