An elderly White Plains man trying to warm his house on Wednesday morning was killed when his clothes caught fire, starting a blaze that spread to his living room and destroyed part of his home, the Maryland State Fire Marshal's Office said.
Charles Kampo, 82, died in an ambulance on the way to Civista Medical Center in La Plata on Wednesday morning. The Maryland Office of Chief Medical Examiner had not determined the cause of death by Friday, authorities said.
According to the fire marshal's office, the fire started when Kampo tried to heat his Bensville Road home early Wednesday morning with an electric kitchen range. Trying to warm himself, he backed up to the range and his clothing ignited.
Kampo rushed to the living room to smother the flames by sitting in an overstuffed chair, but the fire was only intensified by the urethane foam cushions.
Neighbors called 911 after hearing Kampo's cries for help after he managed to get to his porch. Firefighters and paramedics arrived to find Kampo standing outside his home, holding a blanket around his shoulders, the fire marshal's office said.
Kampo, a retired Defense Department employee, had lived in the two-story home on the 7000 block of Bensville Road for more than 20 years, neighbors said. On Friday, two windows of the house were boarded up, and police tape was still cordoning off the porch and front door.
Firefighters contained the fire to the living room. The blaze caused about $50,000 in damage.
W. Faron Taylor, a spokesman for the fire marshal's office, cautioned that kitchen ranges and other appliances should not be used to heat homes.
-- Michael Amon