DANGEROUS COMBO: Oxygen Causes Explosion
A Des Moines woman says she was just trying to have a cigarette when her oxygen tank caused an explosion in her east side home.
Ann Henrichs lived in the home for more than 42 years.
“My two grandkids and my daughter were raised there,” said Henrichs.
It’s full of irreplaceable items including old post cards and family photos.
Now those items are covered in ashes.
“She got out of bed, went to use the restroom, lit a cigarette, and there was a small fire fighter causing the oxygen line to catch fire,” said Brian O’Keefe, public information officer for the Des Moines Fire Department.
Henrichs escaped the home with her grandson and dog but didn’t have any time to spare.
Moments later, an explosion claimed everything inside.
“It reminded me of a bomb. It was like what you see in the movies,” Henrichs told Channel 13 News.
O’Keefe says this should serve as a lesson for folks on oxygen.
He estimated that the fire caused between $60 and $80 thousand dollars in damage.
“If you’re using oxygen tanks, there’s a medical reason for that. If you’re going to smoke, you need to have them shut off and you need to be in a completely separate area, ideally outside.”
For this grandmother, she says she’s not concerned about her possessions.
She’s just thankful for another day with her family.
“I’m so happy we’re all out,” she said.