Authorities: Apartment Fire Started When Man On Oxygen Tried To Light Cigarette

The Delaware Office of the State Fire Marshal has determined that Saturday morning’s fire that injured a 69-year-old Wilmington man was accidental, according to Assistant State Fire Marshal Michael Chionchio.

Chionchio said the Five Points Fire Company was dispatched to the 300 block of North DuPont Road in the Richardson Park neighborhood shortly after midnight for a residential building fire. Firefighters arrived on the scene with flames visible from the rear of the structure. One occupant was transported to the emergency room at the Christiana Hospital.

Deputy fire marshals responded to the scene and hospital to conduct the investigation into how and where this fire originated. The investigators concluded that the fire began inside the living room of an apartment when the injured male attempted to ignite a cigarette using the open flame of a lighter while receiving oxygen, said, said Chionchio . The oxygen enhanced flame ignited his robe. He was able to disrobe and flee outside.

Heavy fire damage was estimated at $30,000. The building contains five apartments. At this time, it is not known when the other occupants will be able to return to their apartments.

Breaking Report

Richardson Park –  At 12:08 this morning, rescue firefighters from the Five Points, Elsmere, Cranston Heights, Mill Creek, Minquas, Wilmington Manor, Belvedere and the City of Wilmington, along with New Castle County Paramedics responded to the 300 block of N Dupont Road for reports of a multi-residential fire with injuries.

While en route crews learned that a resident was reporting fire in the living room. Upon arrival, Elsmere Fire Company’s Ladder 16 reported heavy fire showing from the rear of the two-story multi-family dwelling.

While making their way into the building crews reported that one victim had made it out of the home. Ambulance crews from Five Points’ A-17 made contact with that patient upon their arrival.

As crews began their attack on the fire, additional firefighters from across New Castle County were making their way to the scene. Command also requested an additional ladder truck for the City of Wilmington’s Fire Department.

A primary search of for additional patients met with negative results.  No other victims were found in the building.

Within minutes crews reported that the bulk of the fire had been knocked down and Command placed the incident under control.

Reports from the scene indicate that just before the fire neighbors reported hearing a loud explosion that woke them up. The video captures the explosion.

One patient was transported to the hospital with undetermined injuries.

The incident is currently under investigation by State of Delaware Fire Marshals.


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