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Woman hurt in city fire this morning

January 30, 2013 News Extra

A woman was seriously burned this morning when she dropped a lit cigarette near her oxygen tank and started a fire in her city apartment, authorities said.

The fire about 1:50 a.m. forced seven other tenants to flee the four-unit, two-floor apartment building at 334 N. McKean St., but no one else was injured.

Butler police and firefighters helped in the evacuation.

Firefighters contained the blaze to the apartment where it started.

Debra Heath, 54, suffered second-degree burns on her hands and arms while trying to put out the fire.

She was taken to Butler Memorial Hospital and later transferred to the UPMC Mercy Burn Center in Pittsburgh, said Butler Fire Chief Nick Ban.

Authorities said moments before the fire she was on the couch smoking a cigarette while using oxygen.

“She got off the couch and tripped on her oxygen tubing and dropped her cigarette on the couch, igniting the couch,” Ban said.

“She tried to put out the fire with the couch cushions and made the fire worse. The oxygen fueled the fire.”

Ban said the other tenants likely would be able to return to their apartments by the weekend.