LAS VEGAS -- Las Vegas Fire Investigators believe the deadly combination of careless smoking and medical oxygen is why another senior citizen is in the hospital suffering from serious smoke inhalation Friday night.
The man was rescued by neighbors who saw smoke coming from his apartment and pulled him out just before the arrival of the fire department. No other units in the building were damaged by the fire.
Fire dispatchers received numerous calls at 8:02 p.m. Friday that smoke was coming from a downstairs apartment at the Maverick Apartments at 221 S. Bruce Street (at Fremont).
When firefighters arrived on scene smoke was coming from one unit of the two story / 32 unit wood frame/stucco apartment building. Firefighters entered the apartment and found a couch in the living room on fire with the fire just beginning to get much larger. Firefighters doused the flames and had it out in less than a minute.
Damage was confined to the living room. A sofa, carpeting, a medical oxygen machine and the walls were damaged by the fire. There was light smoke damage throughout the rest of the unit. Damage was estimated at $10,000.
Neighbors told firefighters and investigators that the man, who is approximately 60 years old, was in his apartment with the front door open. Smoke started to come out the front door and several neighbors saw it.
They ran to the apartment carrying fire extinguishers with them. When they entered the unit, they found the man sitting on the sofa, which was on fire. The man has considerable medical and mobility problems and could not get up off the couch by himself. Neighbors picked him up and helped him out the door to the parking lot just as firefighters were arriving on scene.
The man told paramedics that he was previously using medical oxygen, but took it off. He then decided to smoke a cigarette and must have fallen asleep.
He woke due to the heat on the sofa burning. He was examined by paramedics on scene and then taken to the trauma unit at Sunrise hospital because his condition worsened.
Fire investigators ruled the fire accidental, as a result of careless smoking enhanced by medical oxygen.
-- News release