Roanoke, VA

Oxygen tank explosion leaves one dead in Roanoke

Cheryl E Preston

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Oxygen fireWSLS 10

Oxygen tank explosion takes a life

WSLS News 10 is reporting that at least one person is dead in Roanoke due to an oxygen tank explosion. Fire and EMS crews responded to a call that someone appeared to be deceased after a fire. They arrived at a home on the tenth block of 12 1/2 Street Southwest to find one individual who had passed away.

Earlier reports had wrongly given the address as 10 1/2 street. The news did not say if the victim was male or female or give an age. They did say that investigators from the Fire Marshal's department determined the fire was caused by the victim smoking while the oxygen was in use. The fire and EMS officials gave a reminder for people on oxygen not to smoke and said no additional information about this case would be given.

The reason oxygen tanks explode

A study published in September 2019 on the occurrence of home oxygen fires in the United States revealed that 311 incidents took place in one 20-month period, 102 of which had a cylinder explosion. There were 164 deaths and at least 135 of them were the result of a cigarette being smoked near an oxygen tank.

The London Fire Brigade states that six percent of all fires and 26 percent of all fire deaths are related to smoking. During a live burn demonstration, it was revealed that we breath twenty-one percent of oxygen through the air but an oxygen tank has one hundred percent pure oxygen which makes it easily combustible.

Scott Goldstein, the fire chief for Montgomery Maryland has this warning for those who use oxygen and continue to smoke. He says that the oxygen itself is not combustible but an oxygen-rich environment is. He advises never smoking in a home where oxygen therapy is in use and putting up signs to warn others not to smoke because oxygen is being utilized. he also advises oxygen users to keep at least 19 feet away from the following items.

Cigarettes, matches, lighters, electric razors, Small appliances, hair dryers, Pilot Lights – in appliances, stoves, water heaters, Heating Sources – furnaces, space heaters, woodstoves, electric blankets, wood and gas stoves, electric blankets, space heaters, gas grills, cooking, and candles. He also advised making sure smoke detectors have batteries and are working.

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I write, about breaking news, and current events. I wrote a newspaper column from 1997 to 2007 and have written for various online platforms since 2012 including Yahoo Contributor Network, Hubpages, and Vocal Media.

Roanoke, VA
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