A 72-year-old man is in critical condition after a fire at a downtown Wichita apartment building.
The fire broke out in a second-floor apartment at the Shirkmere Apartments, 256 N. Topeka, and was reported just before 11:25 p.m. Wednesday, a Sedgwick County emergency dispatcher said. No smoke was showing outside when fire crews arrived a short time later, but they noted smoke on the second floor, Wichita fire Capt. Kelly Zane said.
Crews found a small fire inside Room 211 and were able to quickly put it out using fire extinguishers. The fire started when a 72-year-old man on oxygen tried to light a cigarette, Zane said.
Tubing leading from an oxygen tank to the victim caught fire, and flames spread to furniture and the wall, Zane said. The victim suffered smoke inhalation and minor burns to his face.
He was taken to the burn unit of Via Christi Hospital St. Francis, where his condition deteriorated overnight, Zane said. A second person in the apartment was treated at the scene but not hospitalized.
While residents on the second floor were evacuated as a precaution when firefighters arrived, Zane said, they were later allowed to return to their apartments.