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Oxygen Tanks Fuel Fatal Fire in Raleigh

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Investigators believe faulty wiring around the microwave may have caused the fatal fire, which was fueled by oxygen tanks found in the victim's home.(WRAL-TV5 News)
RALEIGH — Crews are cleaning up after a fatal fire early Friday morning. Officials say something meant to keep the homeowner alive may have contributed to his death.

Louis Franks heard sirens around 5 a.m. and then saw his neighbor's home on French Lake Drive blazing in the night sky.

Argie Webb rushed over to help get her neighbor outside.

"I banged on the windows, and I couldn't get any response, and the kitchen was burning," Webb says. "I knew I couldn't get in to get to him."

It took crews 45 minutes to get the fire under control and even longer to put out all the flames fueled by oxygen tanks inside.

"The patient was on oxygen, and there were several oxygen bottles inside the dwelling which contributed to the magnitude of the fire," says Raleigh Battalion Chief Lynn Johnson.

When firefighters finally made it inside, they found the body of 82-year-old Crawford Harb.

Although the fire is still under investigation, officials have a good idea what caused it.

Raleigh Police Lt. Gerald Britt says the cause was "probably some wiring in and around the microwave because the intense heat was originated in the kitchen area."

Police do not believe foul play was involved.


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