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How husband’s sleep apnea may have led to Richmond house fire

Posted at 7:40 AM, Jun 01, 2016
and last updated 2016-06-01 14:56:01-04

RICHMOND, Va. -- A Richmond couple blamed a malfunctioning oxygen concentrator for the fire that damaged their home, but investigators later uncovered the truth.

The fire was reported at 5:07 a.m. at the home near the intersection of North 24th Street and Y Street in Richmond.

The husband used the oxygen concentrator to help with sleep apnea. The couple said they started to notice the machine malfunction on Tuesday and the couple -- at first -- said the tank exploded on Wednesday.

But after he was questioned by investigators, the homeowner admitted he was smoking inside the home and dropped a cigarette near the tank.

The couple was able to make it outside of the home unharmed.

Richmond fire crews said they brought the fire under control within 20 minutes of the initial call.

A building inspector has not yet determined whether or not the couple could return to the house.

A representative from the Red Cross believed the home was a total loss.