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Woman with oxygen tank catches on fire while smoking, North Carolina officials say

Esiole Sunday

Feb. 11, 2020

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What happens when you call 911? Use these tips for better emergency response
A woman with an oxygen tank was rushed to a hospital after she caught on fire in North Carolina, officials say.
The blaze erupted when she was smoking at an assisted living facility on Saturday, the NC Department of Insurance said Monday in a news release.
It happened near Asheboro, roughly 20 miles southeast of High Point, according to the office.
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On Saturday, Randolph County Emergency Services responded to the facility after a 911 caller reported someone had burns to the hair and body, Jared Byrd, deputy director, said in a phone interview with McClatchy News.
A resident was taken via helicopter to UNC Hospitals in Chapel Hill, officials told The Courier-Tribune.
It was a “terrible accident and our thoughts and prayers go out to the victim and we wish her a speedy recovery,” Mike Causey, insurance commissioner and state fire marshal, said in the news release.
His department warned of the dangers of smoking while on oxygen, which might have been linked to about 10 percent of fatal blazes across the state in 2019.
“Most of these fire deaths occur in people over the age of 65 and are mobility challenged,” officials say.
In December, a 61-year-old Nash County woman was smoking a cigarette when her oxygen tank exploded, killing her, The News & Observer reported.
People can be at risk even after turning off oxygen devices, according to state officials.
“Increased oxygen levels still linger on the hair, skin and clothing of anyone receiving oxygen therapy,” the news release said. “This creates the danger of serious burns on the head and face.”
Simone Jasper is a reporter covering breaking stories for The News & Observer and real-time news in the Carolinas.
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