A fire in the 800 block of North Southgate Street in McHenry left one person dead Thursday morning. | Photo: Google Street View

A 77-year-old man died after he tried lighting a cigarette in his apartment and caught himself on fire early Thursday morning in McHenry.

The McHenry Fire Protection District and McHenry Police Department responded around 12:07 a.m. Thursday to the 800 block of North Southgate Street in McHenry for a report of a structure fire.

Firefighters arrived to find a fire in a second-floor unit of a 16-unit apartment building, according to McHenry Deputy Fire Chief Steven Spraker.

Fire crews extinguished the fire in approximately five minutes and paramedics pronounced a 77-year-old man dead at the scene.

The man’s wife told authorities she was awakened after she heard her husband screaming for help, Spraker said.

The woman tried to unsuccessfully extinguish the blaze with a blanket and then evacuated the apartment.

Investigators believe the fire was caused after the man tried to light a cigarette while he was sitting on a couch.

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The apartment did not have a sprinkler system but did have smoke detectors, which activated, Spraker said.

The fire was ruled accidental in nature and a damage estimate was not immediately available.

Spraker said the apartment where the fire occurred sustained significant damage. The unit below it sustained water damage.

Two other units were also deemed uninhabitable due to the water having to be shut off.