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Keys woman injured when lighter fluid ignites bottle

Tahoe Daily Tribune Staff Reports

Staff reports

A Tahoe Keys woman was transported by helicopter Tuesday to U.C. Davis Medical Center after she suffered burns when a bottle of lighter fluid she was using to stoke a barbecue ignited.

The accident on Dana Court was reported to the South Lake Tahoe Fire Department at 2:10 p.m. When firefighters got to the home, they saw the woman had been burned severely and that the burns were caused by a 32-ounce plastic lighter fluid bottle that ignited when the woman apparently poured the fluid on an already lit fire.

She was airlifted to U.C. Davis at approximately 2:50 p.m.

“She had severe burns on her arms, hands and legs,” said Donna Cova, flight nurse for CalStar.

Through the quick thinking of an unidentified SBC repairman, the woman’s injuries could have been worse, said Capt. Russ Dow of the South Lake Tahoe Fire Department.

“He was basically the hero on the scene. He utilized water, and dirt from flower pots to extinguish the fire on the person,” Dow said. “We’re trying to find out who he is so we can give him commendations.”

The flash fire serves as a reminder to the dangers of using lighter fluid on barbecues, Dow said.

“Once a fire is lit people should never try to increase the flames intensity with lighter fluid,” he said. “What can happen is that the fluid gets sucked back into the bottle, which is what happened in this instance.”


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