One found unresponsive after medical oxygen leads to Brockton fire



BROCKTON — One person was injured in a fire caused by smoking while using medical oxygen, Brockton Fire Chief Brian F. Nardelli and State Fire Marshal Peter J. Ostroskey said today.

Brockton firefighters responded to an apartment complex on Stillman Avenue following a report of a fire at about 11:15 this morning. On arrival, they found that residents of the building had extinguished the fire and removed one person, who was unresponsive. Firefighters and emergency medical personnel took rapid action to provide medical aid, successfully gaining a pulse and transporting the victim to an area hospital.

“I’d like to recognize the determined efforts of Brockton firefighters and paramedics at the scene, who provided urgent medical assistance to a badly injured person when every second mattered, as well as residents of the building who stepped in to help,” said Chief Nardelli. “There is no safe way to smoke, but smoking on home oxygen is especially dangerous. A fire can start easier, burn faster, and grow larger in an oxygen-rich environment, placing oxygen users at great risk if they smoke.”

“Three deaths were linked to smoking and home oxygen in Massachusetts last year, triple the number from the year before,” said State Fire Marshal Ostroskey. “If you or a loved one use home oxygen, please don’t smoke. Hair, clothing, bedding, and upholstery saturated with oxygen can ignite much more easily. Matches, lighters, candles, stoves, and fireplaces pose serious fire hazards. It’s important to practice fire safety when there’s medical oxygen in the home, and especially important not to smoke.”

If you use home oxygen and must smoke, disconnect the oxygen, wait 10 minutes, and go outside to do it, fire officials said. This is not a safe way to smoke, but it reduces the danger posed by oxygen-saturated hair and clothes.

The Department of Fire Services’ Breathe Easy: Home Oxygen Fire Safety Campaign provides resources for patients, families, medical professionals, service providers, and first responders, including brochures in Spanish and Portuguese. For more information, visit the DFS Home Oxygen Safety web page.

The origin and cause of the fire were investigated by the Brockton Fire Department, the State Police Fire & Explosion Investigation Unit assigned to the State Fire Marshal’s office, and State Police detectives assigned to the Plymouth County District Attorney’s office.

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