Woman killed in fire had been smoking while using oxygen

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RENO, Nev. (KOLO)-- The Reno Fire Department has determined the cause of a fire that killed a Stead woman.

The scene of a fire on Silver Sky Parkway.that killed M’Lissa Cassidy, 61, of Reno. Photo by Gianna Giorgi/KOLO.

About 11PM April 3, 2019, the Reno Fire Department responded to a house fire at 9755 Silver Sky Parkway. Firefighters put out the fire contained to a bedroom.

61-year-old M’Lissa Cassidy was found dead in the room. The medical examiner is still working to establish the exact cause and manner of death, but investigators have determined the fire started on the bed from lit smoking materials and was fueled by medical oxygen used in the bedroom.

A dog inside survived and was given to Animal Control.

Reno Fire Marshal Tray Palmer says this is the first fire-related fatality in Reno since 2017. “In 2017, we had three fire-related deaths, one of which was also caused by smoking with the use of medical oxygen,” he said.

The Reno Fire Department would like to remind smokers that "smoking while on oxygen increases the risk of fires and burns. If fire is exposed to pure oxygen, such as from an oxygen canister, combustion speeds up dramatically. Oxygen makes normal fuels burn much more quickly and easily, potentially causing fires to burn out of control.

"Even after oxygen is turned off, increased oxygen levels still linger on the hair, skin and clothing of anyone receiving oxygen therapy, creating the danger of serious burns to the head or face if smoking materials are brought towards the mouth or clothing," according to Reno Fire.

The National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) reports smoking was the leading cause of home fire deaths for the five year period of 2012-2016. Overall, one of every 31 home smoking material fires resulted in death.


The scene of a fire on Silver Sky Parkway.that killed M’Lissa Cassidy, 61, of Reno. Photo by Gianna Giorgi/KOLO.