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Identity released of victim in fatal Battle Creek brush fire

BATTLE CREEK, Mich. (NEWSCHANNEL 3) - Newschannel 3 has obtained new information Wednesday night about the explosion that took the life of a 93-year-old man in Battle Creek.

Battle Creek Police and fire officials were called to a report of a fire at a home near the intersection of Sonoma and Minges Roads, just before 4:00 p.m. Wednesday.

The victim has been identified as 93-year-old Louis Lingg.

Police say Lingg was burning some brush when things got out of control.

"It looked like the gentleman had been burning some brush, just for regular yard cleanup this time of year, and the fire may have just gotten away from him," said Sgt. Todd Elliot, with Battle Creek Police.

Sgt. Elliot said initially the call was that simple, but while in route to the scene, the story grew grim.

"They also indicated that a tractor may have been on fire and possibly exploded," Elliot said.

Emergency crews arrived in time to stop further damage.

"Probably about half an acre that had burned and was still burning when we got here," Elliot said.

By that time, though, 93-year-old Louis Lingg was already gone.

"It looked like the tractor had caught on fire and the tractor, a neighbor had told us, actually exploded," Elliot said. "Being an elderly gentleman, he did have some health issues, he just may not have had the physical capacity to get away from the hazard."

His wife was inside their home, unaware of what was happening just outside until police arrived to tell her.

The incident is still under investigation, but Battle Creek Police say there is nothing suspicious, and they're simply calling it a terrible accident.