By Michael Slother - email
LUBBOCK, TX (KCBD) - A fire at a central Lubbock apartment complex sent one person to the hospital Wednesday morning. Investigators say the victim accidentally left her stove on and then left for a walk. When she came home, the apartment was filled with smoke. She rushed inside to rescue her cat and ended up being transported to UMC with smoke inhalation.
Making sure to turn cooking gear off may seem like common sense. After Wednesday morning's fire, Lubbock Fire Marshall Garret Nelson wants to remind people to pay close attention.
"We leave thinking that we're going to come right back and then we get out there and start visiting with a neighbor, something happens where you get your mind off the job at hand. The next thing you know, ‘oh no I've left that thing on the stove' and you go running back and now there's a fire."
The fire isn't the only hazard. Covenant Emergency Room Doctor Juan Fitz says just as much danger lies in the thick smoke. "There are other entities that people don't always think about and those are toxic fumes, carbon monoxide, and you're going to get cyanide which is very deadly," Fitz said.
We asked Dr. Fitz what happens to your body when you're exposed to so much smoke. "Well the things that are going to happen are basically swelling in the lungs. You're basically not going to be able to breathe; it's preventing you from breathing only because of the swelling of the airways."
What concerns Nelson most is that the smoke detector in the apartment didn't have batteries. Even though the woman stepped out, if the smoke detector had been working, someone else could have heard the alarm. "It's just a good reminder to test your smoke detector make sure you test them at least once a month and change your batteries at least once a year," Nelson said.
We talked with someone with the complex and they said that apartment #212 was the only one that had smoke damage and that no one else would have to be displaced. One of the apartments upstairs did have their back window broken to get some of the smoke out.