The Las Cruces Fire Department says fires a half mile apart were both caused by exploding oxygen tanks used by cigarette smokers.
According to investigators, Saturday’s fire happened at the Budget Inn located at 2255 W. Picacho Avenue. A fire crew passing by noticed smoke coming from one of the rooms of the hotel. The crew went to investigate and located a fully engulfed room with a 65-year-old woman who had safely evacuated. She was transported to a local hospital and then flown to the burn center in Lubbock for advanced care.
The two people inside the apartment next door were unable to exit because of the fire but were eventually rescued by LCFD and transported to a local hospital for treatment of smoke inhalation.
The 65-year-old woman told firefighters that she was smoking while using supplemental oxygen and at least one of the canisters exploded as a result of the fire.
On Friday, Las Cruces Fire Department responded to a fire in the 2800 block of Picacho Avenue, a half mile away. During that fire, the victim, a 56-year-old woman, was also smoking while using supplemental oxygen. She suffered third-degree burns and was taken to the burn center in Lubbock for treatment.