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updated: 4/12/2013 9:05 AM

Cigarette-smoking man burned while using oxygen

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Associated Press

BETHALTO -- A southwestern Illinois fire chief says a man sustained facial and head burns when a cigarette he was smoking ignited oxygen from a tank he was using as a breathing aid.

The (Alton) Telegraph reports the man, described only as in his mid-50s, was injured Wednesday.

Fire Chief Rich Mersinger says the victim appeared to have suffered first- and second-degree burns.

The man was treated at the scene before being taken to an Alton hospital. His medical status is not immediately clear.

Mersinger considers the case a reminder that people should refrain from smoking when they're using oxygen or are indoors where it's in use. He says oxygen is a fire hazard.

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