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January 29, 2015

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Woman’s smoking while on medical oxygen blamed for fire; 3 injured


Three people were injured in an early morning apartment fire that Las Vegas Fire & Rescue officials said was sparked when a woman forgot she was on medical oxygen and decided to smoke a cigarette before going to sleep.

At 2:34 a.m., firefighters were alerted to a blaze at Las Vegas Manor Senior Apartments, 1700 N. Decatur Blvd. One apartment was gutted and a second had heat and smoke damage, while eight others had a smoke odor, fire department spokesman Tim Szymanski said.

The fire, which displaced 10 people, was extinguished at 2:55 a.m. Damage was estimated at $200,000.

The woman who lived in the gutted apartment told fire investigators she decided to smoke a cigarette before lying down in bed; however, she forgot she was hooked up to a medical oxygen device. When she lit her cigarette, the oxygen flashed and started a fire on the bed, Szymanski said.

She grabbed the bedding that was on fire and took it outside, but the bed itself was on fire and the fire extended to the rest of the small apartment. The woman, who was in her 60s, was the only occupant of that unit, fire officials said.

She was taken to University Medical Center with burns to her face. Fire officials said two others were treated for smoke inhalation but had been released from medical care.

Las Vegas Manor Senior Apartments is located along Decatur Boulevard, between Vegas Drive and Lake Mead Boulevard. The complex was built in 1964.

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  1. How do you "forget" that you're on oxygen ? Perhaps she had too much to drink, or was drugged up on too many medications? Regardless, if you are on oxygen - DON'T SMOKE ! Duhh

  2. More addicting than any other drug, and Metro goes after pot.

    I've seen people do this in casinos.

  3. My SISTER-IN-LAW did this very thing and she didn't forget she just didn't believe it would happen I told her many of times not to smoke especially after now requiring oxygen. And she told me that same old excuse that people like her say " Oh ain't nothing going to happen I've done this so many times" Then it happens and they make things up like I forgot I was on oxygen.

    I would almost bet that her smoking caused COPD and she still defends that smoking is not as bad as we are being lead to believe, This is just another way smoking can kill you and others. Can someone tell me that no one else was affected by her smoking?

  4. What was that Apollo mission that burned up on the launch pad in the sixties because of a spark in a oxygen rich atmosphere and three or four astronauts died in it.

  5. Uhhh, yeah, if I was smoking pot I may actually forget I was on oxygen. LOL

  6. A man in my neighborhood did exactly the same thing a few years back. He died in the fire. These people are just ridiculous. They know they are not to smoke while using an oxygen tank, but it doesn't stop them. This woman in today's story is in a boatload of trouble.

  7. Here's a couple of tips don't dispense gas into a metal gas can or don't smoke while fueling your car just a friendly tip lol

  8. Xdci21 and Warrior,

    Your answers while technically correct were overly simplistic. Oxygen is explosive but it requires a very high concentration to fall within the explosive limits.

    Generally an Oxygen fire is better described as flash fire. The danger of being in a flash fire is that all the oxygen and easily combustible materials are utilized with such ferocity that people are burned rather severely and their lungs are damaged as the fire searches out more oxygen.

    Oxygen used by patients most often has the perfect explosive limit at the area between the upper lip and nose. For the ignition sequence to be completed the victim either lit a short butt or drew the cigarette down to the butt. The ash insulates the coal from completing the sequence until the cigarette is drawn within contact of the perfect oxygen concentration.

    Btw, you CANNOT light a flammable liquid by throwing a lit cigarette into it. The vapor concentration is too high and again the ash insulates the coal.

  9. DMFDRT,

    In the example given, oxygen is actually the oxidizer and the fuel source therefore it is flammable.

    The basic definition of an explosion is a rapid oxidation of a substance accompanied by a noise and often associated with a bright light. Some explosions occur violently while others, still considered explosion, are merely flashes.

    The books that support these assertions are numerous. A really good one is titled: Ignition.

    Contact me through the Sun and I will be happy to assist.

  10. bghs1986 is crazy. I wonder how much he had to drink last night. I bet he kicks bee's nests and blames Bush for his getting stung.

  11. bghs1986 needs to attend anger management.