A 71-year-old man suffered serious burns to his hands and face after the cigarette he was smoking caused an oxygen bottle to explode and start a house fire Wednesday.
Police and fire crews from Moraga, Orinda, and Lafayette were dispatched to a report of an explosion and structure fire in the 700 block of Moraga Road in Lafayette shortly after noon Wednesday. They found an injured 71-year-old man outside the residence and his home on fire.
Firefighters reported smoke and flames coming from the rear of the home and they attacked the fire while firefighter-paramedics attended to the resident, severely burned on his hands and face.
The blaze was reported as under control within 10 minutes. Moraga Road was closed in both directions for a short time to give emergency crews access to the scene. Firefighters from Moraga, Orinda, Lafayette and Walnut Creek responded to the one-alarm blaze.
Initial indications are the fire was caused by smoking in the presence of an in-home medical oxygen system, a fire investigator said. The man, in his early 70s, was apparently smoking while using the oxygen system and a fire erupted. He suffered second- and third-degree burns to his hands and face.
The victim's name was not released.