Woman dies in fire after cigarette ignites oxygen

An elderly woman dies when her house goes up in smoke overnight
July 5, 2012 9:49:21 AM PDT
A woman in her 60s is dead after fire ripped through her home in northeast Harris County last night.

It happened around 11pm at her home off Rawlings and Tinsman. According to the Eastex Fire Department, a call about the fire came in from a neighbor. When crews arrived, they say the house was fully engulfed. One of our viewers sent us this video of the flames.

When firefighters made entry, they located the woman, identified by family members as Wanda Gann, near the front door of the home. She was pronounced dead at the scene.

"I kept hearing a lot of things blowing up and I thought it was people across the street with firecrackers," said neighbor Virginia Garcia.

Neighbors tell us Gann had been battling cancer for years now and more recently was bedridden.

Fire officials believe she was smoking while oxygen was being used. The victim's husband, Jerry Gann, said he tried to help but he was knocked out by an explosion.

"It just kept blowing up because of the oxygen," said Garcia.

Neighbors say Jerry Gann had gone to the store to get ice, only to return to their house in flames.

"I came out the back door. I saw the flames," said Garcia. "It was crazy. It was really a lot of flames."

Jerry Gann was taken to the hospital after being burned on his arms.

"I'm just really concerned about Jerry and Tracy (the couple's son) right now, because they have had loss before," said Gann's extended family member, Barbara Dominy.

Dominy says this isnt the first time Jerry and Tracy have lost family members in a house fire. Jerry lost his daughter-in-law and granddaughter in a trailer fire.

"All we can do is pray for them. Jerry doesn't know what he is going to do next. All I can do is pray for them," said Dominy.

Family members were at the scene trying to salvage what they could from the devastating fire.

Several firefighters suffered injuries and were treated at the scene.


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