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Fire department warns about the dangers of storing home oxygen

Written by The Bee News

December 30, 2020

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Fire department warns about the dangers of storing home oxygen

On December 29, 2020, at approximately 6:52 PM, the Bullhead City Communication Center received several calls reporting a structure fire on the 3600 block of Gloria Ave.  Several BCFD units were dispatched to the call along with a unit from Fort Mojave Mesa Fire Department to assist.

Engine 751’s crew arrived first on the scene, reporting heavy fire and black smoke coming from the garage area. Battalion Chief Flummer arrived shortly after and quickly surveyed the scene, confirming that all occupants had safely evacuated the home and three dogs. Medics were requested for one male subject that received a minor injury while exiting the home.

Firefighters worked aggressively to extinguish the blaze; however, several oxygen bottles were being stored in the garage, which exploded, causing the fire to breach into the attack space and into the home.  After a short battle, the fire was called under control, and crews began the overhaul process.

Unfortunately, the home is uninhabitable at this time, and the Red Cross was requested to assist the occupants. The Bullhead City CERT (Community Emergency Response Team) team assisted firefighters with the rehab process as fire investigators arrived on the scene and began their investigation. The cause of the fire remains under investigation at this time.

The Bullhead City Fire Department would like to remind citizens that home oxygen is pure O2. It is the fuel required for a fire to burn, and in the presence of an open flame or spark, pure oxygen can ignite. If a fire is already burning (e.g., cigarette), bottles of home oxygen can suddenly and violently explode or release their contents into the fire, giving it more fuel, and quickly turn a small fire into a massive blaze.

The use of medical oxygen systems has increased over the past decade, according to the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA), while smoking was the leading cause of home fire deaths in 2012-2016. If you or a loved one are using a portable oxygen device, please follow these simple safety steps.

  • There is no safe way to smoke in a home when oxygen is in use.
  • Candles, matches, wood-burning, and sparking toys can be ignition sources and should not be used in the home.
  • Never use aerosol sprays containing combustible materials near the oxygen.
  • Keep oxygen cylinders at least five feet from a heat source, open flames, or electrical devices.
  • Body oil, hand lotion, and items containing oil and grease can easily ignite. Keep oil and grease away where oxygen is in use.
  • Place “No Smoking” signs inside and outside of the home.
  • Have working smoke alarms in the home

For more information, please contact the BCFD Community Risk Reduction Division at 928-758-3971 or visit www.NFPA.org

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