SPOKANE VALLEY, Wash. – Spokane Valley fire crews said a 77-year-old woman is lucky to be alive after a fire destroyed her apartment unit back on January 26.
A neighbor at the Pines Village Apartments heard her screams and pulled her out.
“I’ve never been in that type of situation before,” the neighbor said. “She was standing there holding onto the TV stand yelling for help. It was very scary. The fire went so fast.”
Fire investigators said the fire was sparked by a cigarette that was too close to an oxygen cannula. They said the woman wears the oxygen at all times and is also a heavy smoker. Investigators believe the oxygen tubing was laying over an ashtray, melted through the plastic tubing and the oxygen coming out of the tubing became a small blowtorch, igniting the fire.
Fire crews who arrived on scene found smoke coming from the window of one apartment. Officials confirmed the person who lived in the unit was out and they contacted neighboring units to make sure everyone was evacuated.
Fire crews quickly knocked down the fire and kept it from spreading to neighboring units. Officials said one resident in an adjoining apartment was safely evacuated by firefighters. Another adjoining resident was not home at the time of the fire.
Officials estimate the fire did between $15,000 to $25,000 worth of damage.
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