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Heath Hayes fire caused by smoking in room with oxygen tank running

By Staffordshire Newsletter  |  Posted: April 09, 2014

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A Heath Hayes blaze that led to four people being taken to hospital was caused by discarded smoking materials setting fire to a quilt - in a bedroom where a medical oxygen tank had been left running, Staffordshire fire service has revealed.

Station manager Bob Preston said the family had a very lucky escape from a blaze that could have had "catastrophic" results.

Firefighters rescued a pensioner after the blaze broke out at a bungalow in Cromwell Road last night.

Two crews from Cannock and one from Chase Terrace found a 67-year-old man in the kitchen when they arrived at Cromwell Road property at 10.18pm.

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They carried him out of the house and he was given oxygen therapy. A 52-year-old woman, an 18-year-old man and a 14-month-old baby were also in the property when the fire started but managed to escape without assistance.

All of the residents suffered smoke inhalation and were taken to Walsall Manor Hospital.

The blaze is thought to have started when smoking materials were carelessly discarded on a quilt cover in one of the bedrooms.

The situation is believed to have been made more severe due to the room being filled with gas from an oxygen tank, for medical use, that had been left running.

Four firefighters wearing breathing apparatus tackled the blaze, which covered an area of approximately 8m by 5m, and two hose reel jets were also used.

The bedroom was completely gutted and every room in the bungalow, apart from the kitchen, was severely smoke damaged.

The incident has been classed as accidental ignition. Crews left the scene at 12.47am.

Station Manager Bob Preston said: “This family had an extremely lucky escape and, given the circumstances, the situation could have been an awful lot worse.

"When using oxygen at home there is a greater risk of fire. People should not smoke in the area where oxygen is being used - a single spark in a room full of oxygen can create the potential for fire.

The combination of a lit cigarette and a room full of oxygen can have catastrophic and potentially life-threatening consequences.

“One of the occupants also attempted to tackle the fire themselves which we would urge people never to do. The message is clear – get out of the property, dial 999 immediately and let the experts deal with the situation.”

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