An elderly man died as a result of a flash fire that might have been fueled by medical oxygen he was using. There was no damage to the northwest Las Vegas apartment where he lived. The incident appears to be accidental.
Fire dispatchers received a call from the man’s wife at 5:15 p.m. that her husband was burned and was not responsive in their apartment at 6119 Daisy Petal St. (Ann/US 95). She had just got home from work and found the man lying on the floor in the kitchen. When firefighters arrived on scene they found there was no fire in the apartment. The man was found dead by paramedics.
Investigators from Las Vegas Fire & Rescue and Metro Police believe the man was using medical oxygen and decided to smoke. He apparently caught the oxygen tubing on fire or his clothing and attempted to go to the kitchen, maybe to use water to douse on himself. He was overcome before he made it. Fire investigators believe the man breathed in superheated air and because of his medical condition it caused him to stop breathing. An exact cause of death will be determined by the Clark County Coroner’s Office.
The wife told investigators that she was home during the lunch hour to check on the man and feed him lunch and everything was fine when she left home.
This is the third fire fatality this year in the city of Las Vegas and fifth fatal fire in the past five months. All fatal fires involved senior citizens and were smoking related. Careless smoking remains the leading reason for fatal fires both in Las Vegas as well as the rest of the country. Most deaths occur between the hours of 11 p.m. and 7 a.m., the time in which most people sleep.
Smoking and using medical oxygen is a dangerous combination. Oxygen does not burn, it is an ingredient for fire and makes other things burn faster. Even after a person stops using medical oxygen, their skin, hair and clothing is enriched with oxygen which causes them to ignite easily when smoking material is used.
E9, R41, EMS1, PIO1, 6i2, 6i7, 6i11
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