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Horicon man dies from brush fire burns

HORICON - An elderly man who suffered severe burns Thursday while trying to control a brush fire he had started died in the hospital just hours after the incident, police said.

The Warren County Sheriff's Department officials said Herbert W. Johnson, 80, of Padanarum Rd. was in the process of burning a pile of leaves he had raked when the fire got out of control and spread.

Johnson's wife found him and called 911 at 1:22 p.m., and the officer responding to the call said it appeared as though Johnson was attempting to extinguish the fire when he became trapped and his clothing caught on fire.

The distress call was routed to the North Warren Emergency Squad, and critical care technician Kevin White responded immediately, arriving at the scene within minutes, officials said.

Johnson had suffered severe burns to about 80 percent of his body when emergency responders arrived, police said.

White said later that the fire was in a woodsy area behind Johnson's home, and flames were scattered in an area about 100 feet by 80 feet. A county patrol officer and a firefighter from the Horicon Volunteer Fire Co. was already on the scene when White arrived, he said. Johnson was found on the outer edge of the burned area, White said.

"We called for a helicopter right away, knowing the extent of his injuries," he said.

White said Tuesday that Johnson was unresponsive at first, but gained some consciousness when responders gave him oxygen.

The emergency squad members took Johnson to the Warren County airport where he was flown to Fletcher Allen Health Services in Burlington, Vt, for treatment. He died at 5 p.m. Thursday, police said.

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