Smoking near medical oxygen caused fire
PLYMOUTH, Mass. (WHDH) -- An early-morning fire injured five people, including a firefighter, in Plymouth Saturday. Investigators said it started when a lit cigarette ignited tubing for home medical oxygen.
The fire spread from the first floor of a Tide View Path apartment. Firefighters said the flames gutted part of building four.
“I took a towel and I opened the front door…I couldn’t see anything. I couldn’t feel anything,” said Joann Nickerson, a resident. “It was so thick. You couldn’t see nothing. It was smelly and black. It was awful.”
The fire marshal says the incident shows that many people are not fully aware of the fire risks associated with bringing medical oxygen into the home.
“The woman had gone back into the building -- ringing doorbells and banging on doors trying to wake people up,” said Chief Ed Bradley of the Plymouth Fire Department.
The fire marshal said people are unaware that oxygen soaks into furniture, bedding and clothes, meaning that the risk of fire remains even if the oxygen is turned off.
Fire incidents involving home oxygen have caused 33 deaths and 65 injuries in Massachusetts since officials began tracking the figures in 1997.
A police officer, firefighter and three tenants were brought to the hospital.
(Copyright (c) 2012 Sunbeam Television. The Associated Press contributed to this report. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.)