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Cigarette blamed for setting nursing home resident on fire

A 64-year-old nursing home patient is in critical condition after a cigarette he was smoking set his garments ablaze, Buffalo Police said.

Homicide detectives were investigating the incident, which occurred at HighPointe on Michigan at 10:36 a.m. Thursday. The man was smoking the cigarette in the facility's courtyard when he caught on fire, according to police.

Michael Hughes, spokesman for Kaleida Health, which owns HighPointe, said three nursing home workers helped extinguish the resident's clothing. The workers received treatment at Buffalo General and were released, according to Hughes.

The identity of the resident, he said, is not being released because of privacy laws. Police said the man was taken to Erie County Medical Center.

The incident occurred in a "designated smoking courtyard" and the resident "has a care plan that allows for smoking outdoors," Hughes said.

Kaleida security personnel are assisting police in the incident, "which is believed to be accidental in nature," Hughes added.

The state health department is investigating, according to spokesman Jeffrey Hammond.

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