Woman, 74, succumbs to injuries from May fire in Grand Lake
A 74-year-old Grand Lake woman has died as a result of serious burns from a fire that broke out inside her home in mid-May.
Authorities confirmed this week that the woman, identified as Diana Gibson, died in the early hours of June 1. Her death was consistent with receiving significant burn injuries, according to officials. Though investigators are still awaiting final reports.
Units from Grand Lake Fire, along with Grand Fire, Grand County EMS and the Sheriff’s Department responded to the residential blaze on County Road 443 between Granby and Grand Lake at around 5:30 p.m. May 18. Gibson was severely injured during the fire, and transported to the UCHealth Burn Center in Denver with second- and third-degree burns over 40 percent of her body, according to Grand Lake Fire Chief Mike Long.
No other people were in the house, though a dog was killed during the fire, according to Long.
After a preliminary investigation launched by Grand Lake Fire, officials said they believe that the fire was the result of smoking combined with an oxygen concentrator machine, a portable medical device used to deliver oxygen via a nasal cannula. The machine may have ignited a piece of furniture nearby, and grown out of control, Long indicated.
“There’s a public education piece to this story,” said Long. “People need to be really careful smoking inside their houses. Smoking while you’re lying down in bed or on the couch and can fall asleep is a really risky activity. And oxygen is an accelerant, so you need to be even more careful around oxygen machines when smoking.”
It took a dozen firefighters about two-and-a-half hours to contain the blaze, and they stuck around until about 1 a.m. Saturday to monitor for hot spots. The entire inside of the house was destroyed, though the outside sustained only smoke damage above the windows.
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Grand Lake Fire has its next chief, hiring from within the department and selecting interim chief Seth St. Germain.