Oxygen Mask-Wearing Patient Lights Cigarette, Ignites Fire

A patient who was wearing an oxygen mask tried to light a cigarette in his hospital room, sparking a fire that forced the evacuation of more than 100 patients, destroyed the room and melted medical equipment, officials said.

A nurse at Methodist Dallas Medical Center rescued the man from his burning bed shortly after the Thursday night blaze started. He suffered serious burns and was taken to the burn unit another Dallas hospital, but no one else was hurt, hospital officials said.

"He somehow got the strength to smoke a cigarette with a nonremovable mask," Dallas Fire-Rescue Capt. Paul Martinez said. "I don't know how he did it, but he did it."

Firefighters extinguished the two-alarm fire after about 45 minutes, and the evacuated patients were returned to their rooms. Hospital sprinklers kept the blaze mostly in the hospital room, said fire Lt. Joel Lavender.

Officials didn't release the man's name or condition Friday, citing medical privacy laws.