MONTROSE — Firefighters say the combination of a burning cigarette and portable oxygen is the probable cause of a fire that injured an elderly Montrose woman in her home Tuesday afternoon.
Shortly before 1 p.m., firefighters were called to 611 S. Fourth Street after neighbors reported seeing smoke and flames emanating from the house. Upon their arrival, firefighters encountered flames at the front door, and worked quickly to extinguish the fire.
JoAnn Mast, the home’s owner, escaped the fire and managed to walk to a neighbor's house nearby. According to firefighters, she was treated for minor burns to her hands and carbon monoxide inhalation. She was transported to Montrose Memorial Hospital at about 1:05 p.m.
Montrose firefighter Tad Rowan said Mast appeared to have been asleep. The fire started when the spark from a cigarette ignited a nearby oxygen tank, and the flames quickly spread to the couch where she was sleeping.
According to Rowan, the home’s close location to both Montrose Fire Protection District Station 1 and Montrose Memorial Hospital was beneficial in helping to quickly treat the victim and get the fire under control.
A man named Jeff Forsyth reported that he lives at the home with Mast, and said she appeared to be “okay.” Forsyth said he was walking back to the house after volunteering at Shepherd's Hand soup kitchen when he saw the firefighters.
Firefighters removed a burned couch from the residence and covered its windows with plastic sheeting.