A SMOKER was killed after her cigarette blew up an oxygen cylinder she was hooked up to.
Belinda Coble, 61, was having oxygen administered at her home in the town of Zebulon in North Carolina at around 8am on Tuesday when the accident happened.
Authorities said a cigarette she was smoking at the time caused the tank to ignite, resulting in an explosion.
Her husband had been asleep in another room in the house but was woken by the sound of the explosion.
He could also hear the home’s smoke alarm and smell smoke.
He found his wife and called emergency services, and was able to extinguish a fire started by the blast.
Paramedics arrive but later pronounced Coble dead at the scene.
The explosion inflicted minimal damage on the couple’s home.
The town is around 20 miles northeast of North Carolina state capital Raleigh.
A study published in September on the prevalence of home oxygen fires in the US reported 311 incidents in one 20-month period, 102 of which saw a cylinder explode.
Of the 164 deaths that resulted, at least 135 were caused by a cigarette being smoked near an oxygen tank.
The London Fire Brigade says that six percent of all fires and 26 percent of all fire deaths are related to smoking.
In the year to September, the brigade fought more than 700 fires started by cigarettes.
It says smokers should ideally smoke outside and make sure cigarettes are definitely out before being disposed of.
Alternatively, it says smokers should never smoke in bed, and avoid doing so in arm chairs or sofas – particularly if there’s a risk they could fall asleep.
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Earlier this month, a coroner heard that a mother-of-three died after dropping a lit cigarette by a Christmas tree and setting fire to her home.
Danielle Saunders, 29, had fallen asleep after returning to her home in Saltash-Cornwall from an evening out in December of last year.