The fire broke out in the fifth floor apartment of James Pratt inside North Shore Towers 2 at 24 Isabel St. in Binghamton.
According to a Binghamton Housing Authority official, Pratt's cigarette smoking ignited the fire which consumed the chair he was sitting in.
Pratt, who was already very ill from cancer, died from his severe burns.
Fire investigators say he was using oxygen to treat his illness.
North Shore Towers 2 houses the elderly and disabled and smoking is permitted in the apartments.
Fire Department Duty Chief Captain Griffis says it took firefighters about 20 minutes to extinguish the fire and that residents were allowed back in after two hours of evacuation.
Damage was limited to the apartment where the fire occurred.
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