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Healdsburg man dies from burns suffered in house fire

Published: Saturday, March 2, 2013 at 9:34 a.m.
Last Modified: Sunday, March 3, 2013 at 8:27 a.m.

A 34-year-old Healdsburg man died Saturday from burns suffered in a residential fire on the west side of town.

Troy Voelkel had second- and third-degree burns over much of his body when firefighters arriving at about 9 a.m. to the blaze on West Grant Street found him lying outside his home, emergency personnel said.

Voelkel was flown in critical condition to the UC Davis Medical Center in Sacramento, where he died about 12 hours later.

Investigators were unable to pinpoint a precise cause of the fire, but indications were that it started in the kitchen, perhaps with the gas stove, Sonoma County Fire Capt. Bob Borges said.

Voelkel was outside the residence when fire crews arrived and he was too badly injured to be interviewed, Borges said.

Borges said fire personnel didn't know if Voelkel was burned by the fire's ignition or because he tried to put it out once it got going, Borges said.

Voelkel lived alone in a small blue-gray house behind a larger home on West Grant Street west of Kinley Drive and Highway 101.

The central living area of the home was blackened by the fire, especially the kitchen. Several windows were broken out, and belongings inside were in disarray, apparently the result of the firefighting effort.

A REACH helicopter landed across the street to take Voelkel to the UC Davis burn center.

Reached in midday in Southern California, Voelkel's father, former Healdsburg resident Ed Voelkel, said he was on his way to see his son at the hospital.

Residents in the house at the front of the property said the victim was a family friend, but they declined comment.

Healdsburg fire crews assisted Sonoma County Fire in battling the flames, Borges said.

(You can reach Staff Writer Mary Callahan at 521-5249 or mary.callahan@pressdemocrat.com.)

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