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Smoking Likely Caused Blast That Killed Two

BENTON TWP. (AP) – Authorities say smoking at a southwestern Michigan house where a resident was using oxygen tanks for a medical condition likely caused an explosion that killed two people and injured four others.

The Herald-Palladium of St. Joseph and WSBT-TV in South Bend, Ind., report 48-year-old Cynthia Kent and 27-year-old Joshua Hoffman died following Saturday’s blast in Berrien County’s Benton Township.

Sgt. Scott LeRoy with Michigan State Police fire marshal’s office says the fire started in a bedroom, causing an oxygen tank to explode. LeRoy says Kent probably had been smoking while using oxygen and her body was found in bed.

Authorities said 59-year-old Norma Hoffman was hospitalized in critical condition afterward for treatment of burns and smoke inhalation.

A 7-year-old boy and women ages 26 and 36 were treated and released.

© Copyright 2011 The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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