HAVRE DE GRACE, Md. - A 60 year-old man is in critical condition after lighting a cigarette in his hospital bed at Harford Memorial Hospital in Havre De Grace late Saturday night.
Hospital staff discovered Steven K. Bock, who has breathing difficulties, in his bed next to a fire consisting of a blanket, oxygen mask and tubing after they heard him cry "fire!"
A subsequent investigation by Deputy State Fire Marshals revealed that Bock lit a cigarette which ignited his oxygen mask and bedding material.
Hospital staff were able to extinguish the fire before the heat activated the room's sprinkler system.
Bock was the sole occupant of the room and was transferred to Johns Hopkins Bayview Burn Center for treatment. He is currently listed in critical condition.
Oxygen is not flammable and will not explode, but an oxygen-rich environment can cause materials to ignite and burn at a faster rate.
If oxygen is in use, the amount of oxygen in the air, furniture, clothing, hair and bedding materials can be increased, which can make it easier for a fire to start and spread.