Authorities determine cause of fatal Bangor fire

Southwest Michigan

Emergency responders at the Eastbrook Senior Apartments in Bangor on March 5, 2021.

BANGOR, Mich. (WOOD) — Investigators have determined the cause of a fatal fire last week in Bangor and said it was accidental.

On March 5, a man died after a fire broke out inside his home at the Eastbrook Senior Apartments on Cemetery Road near North Center Street.

On Monday, authorities said the fire was caused by smoking while on medical oxygen and has been ruled accidental.  

Police initially said on Friday that the victim was a 59-year-old man. On Monday, they said he’s been identified as a 65-year-old man.

The incident is the second fatal fire in Bangor cause by smoking while on medical oxygen in less than a year, according to authorities. Medical oxygen creates an oxygen-enriched environment, making it easier for a fire to start and spread.

“Keep oxygen cylinders and tubing at least 5 feet from a heat source or electrical devices. Never use a sparking toy, an open flame such as a match or lighter, a fireplace or stove, smoking materials or any other device fueled by gas, kerosene, wood, or coal where medical oxygen is in use,” Bangor fire chief Derek Babcock said.

The Bangor Community Fire Department is asking everyone to make sure smoke alarms are installed and working on every level of homes. The fire department says it offers free smoke alarms to anyone who needs them.

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