A family is in mourning tonight as a 92 year old patient is being ruled a homicide victim after burning to death in a hospital in a Botsford Detroit hospital. The elderly patient wasn’t identified until days later, but investigators are puzzling over what could have possibly caused the mysterious fire that resulted in the patient’s death a day later. Could this be a case of spontaneous human combustion?
On the seventh, a nurse found the patient, Walter Gajewski, lying on the floor on fire. Nothing else, including bed sheets, curtains, oxygen tanks, or chemicals were on fire. Investigators say there was no evidence that the patient had been smoking, and as nearby equipment was inspected it was found no electrical malfunctions or oxygen leaks had any sign of faultiness that would have resulted in a fire of any sort. After the patient was put out, he was rushed from Farmington Hills hospital to Detroit Receiving Hospital where the patient died the next day. Since Detroit hospitals have a strict no smoking policy, and no evidence of cigarette smoking was discovered, it seems unlikely that a cigarette had somehow been lit without being detected by security cameras. A curious aspect of this story is that Gajewski was not receiving oxygen while staying at the hospital.
After the autopsy, police ruled the mysterious case a homicide, but many are questioning if it could have somehow been a case of spontaneous human combustion. Because it may inhibit the ability of police to conduct their investigation, no details have been released on this case to the public. As a precaution, however, the hospital is requiring all visitors to sign a log as they enter the hospital. Still, seeing that this was a hospital, and the fact that security cameras may have picked up something, yet this is still secret is proving to be interesting evidence in support of the spontaneous human combustion theory. Could the man have merely burst into flames? Until the investigation concludes we will not know for sure.
Still, if the fuel and ignition have not been found yet, it wouldn’t be the first time someone had spontaneously been burned to death from an unknown source. Localized fires located within the human body have been reported for hundreds of years. The phenomenon was so popular in fiction at one point, that Charles Dickens even wrote about the incredible feat of physical impossibility in his novel “The Bleak House.” To date there have been many theories to explain the phenomenon, but no ultimate conclusion has been drawn.
Of the hundreds of proposed cases of spontaneous human combustion, few have been solved in any way, but most have an at least attempted explanation for them and others have proven to be less than spontaneous. One such hospital case proved later to be a fire set by a doctor to a comatose patient to hide his mistake. Of course he was caught and later held accountable for his action. This new case, however, is proving to be much harder to explain. One can only hope it will be explained, and Gajewski’s family will find peace in justice.