Recent fires underscore dangers of medical oxygen

Blog Post created by freddurso Employee on Mar 9, 2012

Photo from the Food and Drug AdministrationRelated tragedies in Massachusetts have raised awareness on the hazards surrounding medical oxygen in residential settings.

The Boston Globe reports that bottled oxygen was a "major contributor" to a February fire that killed a 64-year-old smoker. The blaze, which began in the woman's bedroom, was hot enough to melt the woman's ashtray adjacent to her bed. This week, another fire still under investigation and apparently fueled by medical oxygen killed an 84-year-old woman. The Globe states that neighbors could hear the sound of the canister erupting.  

Massachusetts State Fire Marshal Stephen Coan recently announced a new public education campaign that touts safety tips on oxygen usage well as NFPA statistics on this issue.“Oxygen soaks into bedding, clothes, hair, furniture, and the air,  creating an oxygen-enriched environment,’’ said Coan. “This makes things  catch fire more easily, fire spread faster and burn hotter. As more and  more people are bringing medical oxygen into the home, they need to  understand the new fire risks they also bring into the home.”

Download NFPA's smoking and home fire safety tip sheet for more information on safeguarding residences against medical oxygen fires.

-Fred Durso, Jr.