A 61-year-old woman in North Carolina passed away after reportedly igniting her oxygen tank with a cigarette she was smoking.
Belinda Coble used an oxygen tank for medical reasons, according to WNCN.
While using the tank on Tuesday, Nash County Sheriff’s Office reported that she was also smoking.
The flame from the cigarette ignited the tank.
A small explosion and fire followed.
According to the American Lung Association, oxygen itself is not flammable but it does help support combustion.
“Materials burn more readily in an oxygen-enriched environment,” the association wrote.
Coble’s husband was sleeping in another room in the house, according to WNCN, but he was woken up by the sound of the explosion and the fire alarm.
He called 911 and first responders quickly arrived at the house.
Although there was little property damage, Coble died as a result of her injuries.
Nash County Sheriff’s Office reported she had already passed before first responders arrived.
The ALA highly discourages the use of cigarettes or other open flames while using an oxygen tank.
The organization even suggests placing “No Smoking” signs around your home to deter others from smoking in the same area as an oxygen tank.
Even after taking all of these precautions, ALA stresses the importance of working fire alarms and easy access to a fire extinguisher just in case an explosion occurs.
If Coble had heeded these warnings, this tragic accident may not have occurred.
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