Staff Reports, Carroll Eagle
10:22 PM EDT, September 22, 2012
A small fire on Friday evening at Fairhaven Retirement Community in Sykesville was accidental in nature, and was put out quickly because of sprinklers, according to the State Fire Marshals' office
No injuries were reported in the incident.
The fire marshal's office reported that an elderly resident was attempting to adjust his own oxygen machine when the fire occurred.
Members of the Sykesville Freedom District Fire Department were called to the three-story assisted living facility at 7200 Third Avenue at 6:57 p.m. on Sept. 21 to respond. and discovered that the fire had been extinguished by two sprinklers in the room and one sprinkler head just outside the room.
Staff had been alerted to the fire by the occupant of the room and by the alarm system.
Investigators said an 81-year-old resident had been attempting to shorten the oxygen tubing that assisted him to breath by cutting the tubing and then, with a metal awl and a cigarette lighter, tried to make the tube fit onto the adapter on the machine, igniting nearby combustibles, which spread quickly due to the oxygen-rich environment, officials said.
The fire was contained by sprinklers, but not before causing an estimated $50,000 in damages.
Staff provided guidance and escorted residents to safety.
Maryland State Fire Marshal William Barnard has advocated the benefits of fire safety for elderly adults, and said the Sykesville incident was, "another example of the effectiveness of the protections afforded by automatic fire sprinklers in residential occupancies."