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Woman suffers burns when smoking near oxygen tank

A woman was injured after a blanket inside her home caught fire Monday morning in Lansford.

Borough fire Chief Joe Greco said the incident occurred at 7:20 a.m. at the home on East Ridge Street

“The fire damage wasn’t extensive when I got there, nothing showing from the exterior,” Greco said “However, additional information we were given was an elderly woman was smoking while on oxygen and caught her blanket on fire.”

The 74-year-old Lansford woman suffered burns to her chest, neck and face, Greco said.

The woman was wearing her oxygen tubing while smoking, and the oxygen fueled the flame, acting like a torch and catching her blanket and chair on fire, Chief Joe Greco said.

No smoke or fire was showing when firefighters arrived, but a burned blanket was outside on the curb, Greco said. The woman’s 15-year-old grandson took the blanket outside, he said.

Greco entered the smoke-filled house, found a chair still smoldering and the woman on a couch. She was taken by ambulance St. Luke’s Hospital in Lehighton, but Greco did not know her condition.

“Some of the couch was burned,” he said.

Greco said the house only sustained minor damage.

“Only damage to the chaise lounge that she was sitting on,” he said. “But no structural damage, nobody was displaced.”

Greco said the cause of the fire is accidental, which he attributed to careless smoking.

“The fire was pretty much out when I got there,” he said. “Once I got there, it was basically smoldering at that point, wasn’t long after we were on scene.”

Greco said firefighters remained on scene for about a half-hour to check for extension and ventilate the property.

He said also assisting at the scene were the Summit Hill and Coaldale fire departments.

“It was a great response by the three neighboring departments,” Greco said. “People need to be mindful when they are smoking around combustible materials such as blankets.”

Kelly Monitz-Socha contributed to this report.