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Woman on oxygen tank injured in fire at Irwin Manor

| Friday, Oct. 21, 2011

An 83-year-old resident of Irwin Manor was being treated for injuries suffered Thursday morning in an apartment fire that borough police speculate was caused by her falling asleep while smoking and using an oxygen tank.

A maintenance worker helped the woman escape from the 8 a.m. fire, police Chief Joseph Pocsatko said. Irwin Ambulance Medic 201 took her to UPMC Mercy Hospital in Pittsburgh for treatment.

Attempts to confirm the woman's condition yesterday were unsuccessful.

Police will meet with members of the Westmoreland County District Attorney's Office after she is released from the hospital to determine whether to file charges for recklessly endangering another person or risking a catastrophe.

Pocsatko said it was apparent by the burned plastic oxygen mask and burned couch that the woman was smoking while using her prescribed oxygen. Police speculate the woman's sweater and mask caught fire when she fell asleep while smoking, he said.

Oxygen cylinders have warning labels prohibiting smoking near the device, the chief said.

The damage was contained to the woman's apartment and other tenants were permitted to return to the building.

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