Officials in Nevada have determined the cause of a deadly apartment fire earlier this spring to be accidental.
According to a press release, the Nevada Public Safety Department has determined that a fatal April 22 fire at an apartment complex at 710 South 11th Street was caused by “careless smoking while home oxygen was in use.”
According to Nevada Director of Public Safety Ricardo Martinez, first responders were called to the property at approximately 10:20 a.m. on a call of a structure fire. Officials arrived on scene to find one of the apartments fully engulfed in flames.
The fully engulfed apartment was occupied by three individuals at the time of the fire: Angel Harvey Scott, Timothy Allen Scott, and Lawrence Edward Scott, all of Nevada.
Lawrence Scott died due to the blaze. In Monday’s update, Nevada Fire Chief Ray Reynolds indicated that Angel and Timothy Scott are still recovering from extensive burn injuries.
The release also stated that it is still unclear whether smoke alarms in the residence were in working order leading up to the fire.
Total damage to the property is said to be $400,000, according to Reynolds.
In April, Reynolds told StoryCounty.News that approximately eight families were displaced following the fire and subsequent smoke and water damage to the units. On Monday, he stated that three families are “permanently displaced” from their homes following the incident.
In addition, Reynolds said that the last two fatal fires in Nevada involved “persons who smoked while on oxygen,” and three Nevada homes were set ablaze by cigarettes during the month of April.
“According to data from BPR medical, 1.5 million people are on home oxygen therapy. It is estimated 50% of those on home oxygen continue to smoke cigarettes. Oxygen is an extremely flammable gas and readily ignites with a lit cigarette. The fire department encourages cessation of smoking programs as nicotine is highly addictive.
“The Nevada Fire Department recommends family members talk to your home oxygen provider about installing Fire Sale cannula thermal shunts. These medical devices cost on average $11.25 and can stop the flow of oxygen when oxygen tubing is exposed to fire or ignites…If you live in Nevada and have a family member on home oxygen, contact the Nevada Fire Department so a fire safe thermal shunt can be installed on their home oxygen tubing and concentrator at no cost while supplies last.”Ray Reynolds, Nevada Fire Chief
The Nevada Fire Department can be contacted by calling 515-382-4593.