NFPA Journal - May/June 2020 - 80

Firewatch
Neighbors called 911 at 7:44 a.m. to
report the fire and attempted to rescue
the victim without success before firefighters reached the scene minutes
later.
According to news reports, the
victim lived by herself in a first-floor
apartment at the rear of a five-unit
apartment building.
On arrival, firefighters entered the
apartment and found the deceased
victim in her living room, where fire
on her clothing had spread to nearby
pieces of furniture. Crews extinguished
the fire and preserved the scene for
investigators and the coroner.
Investigators reported that the victim
had a history of smoking while using
oxygen and had been warned to stop by
friends and family members. They indicated that the oxygen concentrator was
in the "on" position and that the tubing
had melted onto the victim.
Another building occupant was able
to escape the fire and attempted with

a passerby to locate the victim until
being driven back by fire.
The fire department indicated that
a single smoke detector in the victim's
apartment was not operable.
The building was a three-story wood
structure with a ground floor area of
2,340 square feet (217 square meters).
The fire caused an estimated $15,000
in damage to the building, valued at
$110,000, and an additional $5,000 in
damage to its contents, valued at $50,000

FLORIDA
Lithium ion battery in vape device
causes fatal house fire
A house fire that claimed the life of
a male resident was caused by the
catastrophic failure of a rechargeable lithium ion battery used in
a vape device, according to fire
investigators.
The fire department was dispatched
to the scene by an alarm monitoring
company after it was alerted by the

residence's fire alarm system shortly
before 9:30 a.m.
Firefighters reported nothing showing from a two-story wood frame
residence upon arrival, but smoke was
discovered coming from the west gable
end of the residence during a 360degree circuit of the property, and the
call was upgraded to a complete structure response.
Crew members initiated a fast attack
and forced entry at the front of the
residence, advancing a fog nozzle to
the second floor. While extinguishing a
small fire in the corner of a bedroom,
crews discovered a fire victim on the
floor and quickly transported him outside. Medical crews determined that
the occupant was already deceased.
Investigators determined that the
fire originated in the victim's bedroom,
where the rechargeable lithium ion
battery for a vape device went into
a thermal runaway, causing a catastrophic failure of the battery, which

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Firewatch_05.20_V2.indd 80

5/1/20 11:49 AM


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NFPA Journal - May/June 2020

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