East Huntingdon woman, 73, suffers burns in recent fire
By A.J. Panian
Published: Wednesday, Aug. 21, 2013, 9:00 p.m.
An East Huntingdon woman who relies on oxygen from tanks she keeps in her apartment suffered third-degree burns Friday from a small fire accidentally ignited by cigarettes she was smoking when she fell asleep, fire officials said.
Betty Jean Bowser, 73, was reported in critical condition at UMPC Mercy in Pittsburgh, said Trooper Seth W. Helman, a state police fire marshal at the Greensburg barrack. The victim suffered third-degree burns to her torso, head and arms, said Dennis Taylor, second assistant chief of the East Huntingdon fire department. The blaze started about 11:30 a.m. in her residence at Huntingdon Village Apartments, a 95-unit complex on Huntingdon Village Drive in Hunker. The minor fire caused an estimated $1,000 in damage.
Bowser uses oxygen from two tanks that were kept in her bedroom, Taylor said. Oxygen from the tanks was carried by a hose to the living room, where the woman was sitting in a chair, Taylor said. The oxygen ignited, but there was no explosion, he said.
The flames were extinguished by the time East Huntingdon firefighters arrived, Taylor said. The fire department was dispatched to the scene at 11:34 a.m.
“She even stated herself that she was smoking and fell asleep,” Taylor said. “The fire actually burned the hose back to the bedroom and the living room carpet. But it was a very small fire.”
A neighbor heard the smoke alarm sounding in the apartment and entered to find the floor aflame, along with a nearby garbage can, Taylor said.
“From what I understood, they kind of watch after her,” he said. “When the smoke detector went off, they found a small fire on the floor and stomped it out.”
Bowser was initially treated at Excela Westmoreland Hospital in Mt. Pleasant, before being flown by medical helicopter to Pittsburgh.
A.J. Panian is an editor for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 724-547-5722 or email@example.com.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
Subscribe today! Click here for our subscription offers.