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story.lead_photo.caption Piney Fire Department Chief Scott Miser pulls a hose into place near a mobile home in flames Tuesday near Royal. A 74-year-old man was found dead inside the destroyed structure. - Photo by Richard Rasmussen

ROYAL -- The body of a 74-year-old man was found inside the burned remains of a single-wide mobile home that was engulfed in flames when firefighters arrived Tuesday morning, the Garland County sheriff's office said.

The cause of the fire and the man's death are under investigation, sheriff's Sgt. John Schroeder, training and media relations coordinator, said at the scene near Royal.

"He hasn't been positively identified yet, so obviously his body will be sent to the Arkansas State Crime Lab for identification and cause of death," Schroeder said.

"Until they can find out what the actual cause of death was at the State Crime Lab, it's really hard to say [if foul play was a factor]," he said. "On these scenes, it's tragic but you just can't tell."

A news release from the sheriff's office said the Garland County 911 communications center received a call about 9 a.m. Tuesday about a house fire at 103 Lovia Circle.

Schroeder said the first deputy arrived at the scene about 9:10 a.m. "and the house was pretty well on fire by the time he got here." Piney Fire Department firefighters also arrived within 10 minutes of the initial call.

Two family members who live in the immediate area said they believe the fire started after a 5-year-old ignited something in the house with a lighter. Piney Fire Department Chief Scott Miser said he learned at the scene that the fire's origin may be linked to a blanket that a child caught on fire.

"Me and my husband were asleep in the trailer [behind the one that caught fire] and our 5-year-old grandson was staying at my [in-laws'] house, and he got a lighter and started something on fire," a family member at the scene said. "My [mother-in-law's] oxygen tank I think blew up and that's what started it."

Miser confirmed that at least one oxygen tank and bottles of propane were found inside the residence once the fire was brought under control.

Schroeder said firefighters noted that they heard explosions while extinguishing the blaze.

It took 12 Piney firefighters nearly an hour to extinguish the fire, with one firefighter from Mountain Pine responding for mutual aid. No other injuries were reported.

State Desk on 10/24/2018

Print Headline: VIDEO: After flames engulf Arkansas mobile home, 74-year-old man found dead inside

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