Fatal Fire Caused by Smoking While Using Medical Oxygen Therapy - Southern Maryland Headline News

Fatal Fire Caused by Smoking While Using Medical Oxygen Therapy

ST. MARY’S COUNTY, Md. (February 17, 2012) – Investigators have concluded that the fire which took the life of David Vanryswick, 56, was the result of using smoking materials while receiving medical oxygen therapy. The fire occurred on February 8 at 11:44 p.m. in his apartment located at 45955 Foxchase Drive in Great Mills.

Mr. Vanryswick was home alone at the time of the fire. He was found deceased inside his two bedroom, first floor apartment of the two story wood framed garden style apartment building by first arriving firefighters. The preliminary report for the accidental cause of death by the Office of the Chief Medical Examiner reveals Mr. Vanryswick died as result of the fire.

The Foxchase Apartments were constructed in 1989, which was prior to the requirements of residential fire sprinklers. These life saving devices were mandated in all newly constructed apartments, condominiums, hotels, motels and dormitories in Maryland on July 1, 1990.

State Fire Marshal William E. Barnard issued the following warning. “All Marylanders need to be aware of the potential hazards involving medical oxygen use. Oxygen itself is not flammable, however, an oxygen enriched environment can cause materials to ignite more readily and burn at a faster rate than normal,” stated Barnard.

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