Blind man killed in Van Buren County fire

DECATUR, Mich. - A 64-year-old, blind man is dead after a fire ripped through a Van Buren County home last night.

Firefighters were dispatched to the rural home on 78th Avenue outside Decatur around 8 p.m. Monday night.  

The man has been identified as Alan Burns. Van Buren County police say he was alone in the home when the fire sparked.
“You could see the glow of the fire lined up with the barn there,” said Greg Thomas, one of the few people who live in the remote area. He could see evidence of the house fire over a hill outside his house.  “Within a few minutes you could see the flames over the barn there.”
The entire home was completely in flames by the time firefighters got there. “When the fire department came on scene the fire was already thru the roof,” said Scott LeRoy, an investigator with the Michigan State Police.
Three people live in the home but Burns was home alone at the time.
“You see the door facing the road,” said Burns. “He was about three feet in front of that door.” The fire started in a back bedroom but the man was found only a few from the front door.
Thomas said he knows just about everyone in the area except for this quiet family. “I know they lived there maybe six months or more,” he said. “I’m sorry to hear the gentleman passed away. That’s a horrible thing to have happen to anybody.”
Autopsy results Tuesday revealed Burns died from smoke inhalation. Investigators have not found smoke detectors in the home. No foul play is suspected.

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