First fatal fire of 2020 in Tuscaloosa explained

Using medical oxygen safely in your home

TUSCALOOSA, Ala. (WBRC) - A small oxygen tank could help spark a big fire under the right conditions.

“A fire caused by smoking in the house while on oxygen and unfortunately with that fire we had a fatality,” according to Holly Whigham, a spokesperson for Tuscaloosa Fire Rescue.

Investigators with Tuscaloosa Fire Rescue said that caused a fire at Timberline Apartments on April 14th. Injuries from that fire sent a 72-year-old man to the hospital.

They wouldn’t identify him by name citing privacy concerns. He died weeks later from his injuries.

“Items such as candles, matches wood stoves, those should not be in a home with oxygen because they are ignition sources. If you’re on medical oxygen, you want to make sure you do not have those things in your home,” Whigham continued.

She feels some people who use oxygen tanks may have a false sense of security about them, because they haven’t heard of many fires involving them recently.

“So we want to make sure that we’re reminding the public on the importance of safety while using oxygen in the house,” she added.

They also suggest having a working a smoke detector in your home especially if you have equipment like oxygen tanks in it.

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