Death blamed on stomping out fire
After investigating the March 15 death of a Marion man in a welding accident, fire marshal Chris Mercer has concluded that Max Ewert caught on fire while trying to stomp out burning grass.
Mercer said a stray spark or arc from the welder Ewert was using outside his home caught dry grass on fire, and Ewert fell into the burning grass while trying to extinguish it.
Mercer said in talking to witnesses, he learned that Ewert had vision problems and mobility problems.
“He tried to stomp it out and because he couldn’t get around very well, he fell,” Mercer said. “It was enough to yell and a neighbor came to help. It was an accidental fire and a very tragic situation.”
Ewert’s neighbor, Jerry Dieter, heard Ewert calling for help and found him lying about six feet away from a welder set up next to his garage.
Dieter placed his own jacket over Ewert to smother the flames and called 911.
Ewert was taken to St. Luke Hospital. From there he was airlifted to Ascension Via Christi St. Francis Hospital, Wichita, where he died that night.
Last modified March 23, 2022