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55 SW Ash Street, Portland, OR 97204
December 11, 2011
At 10:25 pm last night, Portland Fire & Rescue responded to a 70-year old female who was reported to be unconscious and not breathing. Firefighters from Portland Fire (Rockwood) Station 31 arrived within 5 minutes to the Mobile Estates at SE 167th and Division to find a man performing chest compressions on his wife. The patient's husband had been gone and came home to find his wife lying on the floor. Firefighters quickly began an assessment of the patient and checked for signs of breathing and any heart activity but were unable to revive her. During his assessment, a Portland Fire and Rescue paramedic noticed burns on the patient's face and fingers. Also found was what appeared to be cigarette remains and melted oxygen tubing which the patient had originally been using for medical reasons. It appears that the oxygen tubing caught fire and the patient inhaled the toxic smoke and heat from the burning plastic.
"It is extremely important for people in our communities who use supplemental oxygen to understand how they can keep themselves and their loved ones safe from fire," said Portland Fire & Rescue Lieutenant Sam James.
Oxygen is needed for fires to start. A spark that would not normally burn can start a fire because of supplemental oxygen. It is very important to protect yourself, your family and your home by exercising caution when using oxygen equipment. The following are tips on how to stay safe while using supplemental oxygen:
A Portland Fire Investigator was dispatched to the scene to determine the cause of the fire. The cause of death and the fire are still under investigation and updates will be given as they become available.
Portland Fire & Rescue