Authorities: Fatal fire was caused by smoking near oxygen

TOWN OF WESTBORO — Taylor County authorities say a fatal house fire in northern Wisconsin apparently started by accident while the victim was smoking a cigarette near her oxygen supply.

Chief Deputy Larry Woebbeking said in a statement that the sheriff's office got a 911 call just before 3 p.m. Friday from a man who said his home in the Town of Westboro was on fire, and that he and his wife were still inside.

When deputies arrived, they found 79-year-old Michael Rantanen outside. He told them his wife was still inside. The deputies were unable to enter the home due to the smoke and fire.

Rib Lake firefighters arrived moments layer and entered the house. They found 71-year-old Susan Rantanen dead in the living room.