Officials: elderly man dies following West Springfield fire - Western Mass News - WGGB/WSHM

Officials: elderly man dies following West Springfield fire

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(photo MGN-Online) (photo MGN-Online)
WEST SPRINGFIELD, MA (WGGB/WSHM) -

A man is dead following a fire that broke out at his West Springfield apartment.

In a statement released Monday, the West Springfield Police and Fire Departments, the Hampden County D.A.'s office, and the state fire marshal's office announced that an elderly man - who was injured after fire broke out at his Van Deene Avenue apartment on Friday - has died.

The victim's identity will be released by the D.A.'s office once a formal identification and family notifications are made by the Medical Examiner's office.

Investigators determine that the fire was caused by smoking while medical oxygen was in use at the home.  They noted that the victim's clothing ignited and he reportedly ran to the sink to try and put the fire out with water.

"Our hearts go out to the victim’s family at this tragic loss. It is fortunate that no one else was injured in this fire. We are concerned that this behavior put everyone else in the building at risk." said West Springfield Fire Chief William Flaherty in a statement.

The state fire marshal's office noted that their office has an educational campaign, as well as some facts that families should know about home oxygen:

  • Using home oxygen increases the risk of fires and burns.
  • When oxygen is used in the home, the amount of oxygen in air, furniture, bedding, clothing and hair goes up, making it easier for a fire to start and spread.
  • When more oxygen is in the air, fires burn hotter and faster.
  • Keep oxygen and tubing 10 feet away from heat sources such as candles, matches, lighters, heaters, woodstoves, electric razors, hair dryers, cooking stoves, and smoking materials.
  • Do not use petroleum-based products such as oil-based lip balms or lotions. They catch fire easily.

Ostroskey added in a statement "When doctors and hospitals send patients home with medical oxygen, patients and families need education about the incredible fire dangers this poses and how to use it safely. Moreover, these very patients struggling to breathe, need every bit of help to quit that the health community can provide."

The fire was investigated by the West Springfield Police and Fire Departments and troopers assigned to the D.A.'s office and the state fire marshal's office.

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