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Man Killed While Smoking on Home Oxygen Identified

A man died in an apartment fire on Thursday morning in Andover, Massachusetts, according to Andover Fire Rescue.

The man was identified as Nicholas Rizzo II, 85, a resident at Andover Commons, an elderly housing complex.

Fire officials said the cause of the fire was smoking while on home oxygen.

At 11:05 a.m. Andover Fire responded to a fire at Andover Commons, a four-story building with 167 units on 30 Railroad Avenue.

Upon arrival, Andover firefighters were met with smoke coming from a fourth-floor apartment. A second alarm was ordered and the Lawrence, Methuen, Tewksbury, Wilmington, North Reading, and North Andover fire departments responded.

Residents from throughout the complex were moved from their apartments to common areas within the building while crews fought the fire.

The 85-year old man was located by fire crews in his apartment. Firefighters performed emergency life-saving measures and he was transported to Lawrence General Hospital where he was later pronounced dead. No other injuries were reported.

"Fire is a tragic way for a long life to come to an end," said State Fire Marshal Peter Ostroskey.

Ostroskey cautioned against smoking while in the presence of medical oxygen. "There is no safe way to smoke inside a house where medical oxygen is in use," he said.

Massachusetts has an average of five to six fires each year involving medical oxygen, said Ostroskey.

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