A Manchester woman suffered second-degree burns Tuesday morning when the cigarette she was smoking ignited the apparatus she was wearing on her face to deliver the oxygen she needs, a fire official said.

The 69-year-old woman was rushed to York Hospital's trauma bay with burns, including to the inside of her nose, Union Fire Co. Chief Joe Stevens said.

It happened just after 7 a.m. in a home in the first block of York Street, according to fire officials.

She was in satisfactory condition Tuesday afternoon, a York Hospital spokesman said.

The woman was wearing a nasal cannula attached to an oxygen tank at the time she was burned, according to Stevens. A nasal cannula is a thin piece of tubing with two prongs that are placed in the nostrils.

Dangerous habit: Stevens said he and others from Union Fire Co. have spoken with the woman numerous times in the past about the danger of smoking near her oxygen tank. Other family members smoke in the house as well, he said.

The woman lives in a six-unit apartment, and her actions put the building's other residents in danger, Stevens said.

Had Tuesday morning's mishap caused a fire, it would have spread very quickly because it would have been fueled by oxygen in the woman's tank, he said.

In this case, nothing in the woman's home caught on fire, he said.

Stevens said for patients on oxygen, electronic cigarettes are a fire-safe alternative to traditional cigarettes.


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People on oxygen who insist on smoking should at least take off their masks or nasal cannula and move outside, or to a different room.

As always, Stevens said, people should have working smoke detectors in their homes.

— Reach Liz Evans Scolforo at levans@yorkdispatch.com.