Fire Department determines cause of house fire that took woman’s life

Published 12:09 pm Tuesday, August 8, 2017

The LaGrange Fire Department has determined the cause of a fire that took a LaGrange woman’s life last week.

The fire, which occurred on the 1000 block of Dunson Street on July 31, resulted in the death of 80-year-old Gladys Shelton. Five animals also died in the fire.

Lt. Chris Taylor with the LaGrange Fire Department said Monday that the fire was caused by the “use of smoking materials too close to oxygen equipment.” The fire department is now working to spread the word about safety tips for when a family member uses medical oxygen.

“Our condolences go out to the Shelton family because not only does that tragedy affect them, but it affects the community as well,” Taylor said. “We don’t want any fire related injuries, and we definitely don’t want any fatalities.”

Taylor said the fire department is working with the state fire marshal on a campaign about the dangers of smoking around someone using medical oxygen.

“A heat source, such as a flame, has to have oxygen in order to grow. In those situations, the dangers rely upon those who are smokers and use oxygen,” Taylor said. “It is never a good recipe to smoke and be on oxygen at the same time.”

Taylor said anyone using medical oxygen should take precaution that tanks are a safe distance away from heat sources.

The National Fire Protection Agency recommends keeping oxygen cylinders at least five feet from a heat source, open flames or electrical devices. Candles, matches, wood stoves and sparking toys should not be used in a home where medical oxygen is in use.

Taylor said the LaGrange Fire Department will add safety tips for anyone using medical oxygen to their presentations. The department is also working on other ways to make the community aware of safety tips for anyone using medical oxygen.