Smoking in bed caused deadly Agawam fire, investigators say

Hampden County

AGAWAM, Mass. (WWLP) – Smoking in bed, inside an oxygen-rich environment, led to a deadly fire at a mobile home in Agawam Monday, investigators say.

State Fire Marshal Peter Ostroskey, Agawam Fire Chief Alan Sirois, and Agawam Police Chief Eric Gillis announced the cause of Monday’s fire at 74 Springfield Street was determined to have been accidental. Investigators had determined the victim, who was the only resident of the house, had been smoking in bed. To complicate matters, the victim also was a user of medical oxygen.

The use of medical oxygen creates an oxygen-rich environment in your home, which can cause fires to start and spread more easily. Sirois says those who use oxygen should take precautions such as keeping their oxygen machine and tubing away from any potential heat sources.

“There is no safe way to smoke around home oxygen. Turning off the oxygen is not enough, because your clothes, hair, bedding, and the tube soak up the oxygen, and become oxygen-enriched,” Sirois said.

The fire chief added that this is the second deadly fire in town in the past eight months. In both cases, the improper use or disposal of smoking materials has been blamed for causing the fire. In both cases, Sirois also said the homes lacked functioning smoke detectors, which is believed to have contributed to the deaths.

The victim of Monday’s fire has not been identified at this time.

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