CIRCLE PINES, Minn. (KMSP) - A Circle Pines, Minn. woman rescued her husband, who was in hospice care, from their burning home Tuesday, but not before his oxygen tubes exploded, causing burns on the upper half of his body.
Dean Johnson, 57, was out in the living on his hospice bed when the fire erupted around 4:30 a.m.
"My alarm went off for work and I heard Dean yell 'ow’,” Dean's wife of 36 years, Shelia, said. “I looked in the living room. I saw the flames. I had my cell phone in my left hand. I grabbed him by the arm and pulled him as hard as I could out the door."
Dean has been diagnosed with stage 4 chronic obstructive pulmonary disease also known as COPD. His lungs have been compromised and he has been given less than six months to live.
Shelia figures it was his oxygen tubes that reacted with the fire, leading to painful injuries on his upper body. He apparently tried to put out the initial fire. Shelia is being called a hero for saving her husband, plowing through the flames on the first floor that she remembers were up to her waist.
"Adrenaline I believe got us out the door,” Shelia says.
The insurance company deemed the house a total loss on Friday.
The family still has Dean, although for how long they do not know, but the Johnsons insist they will cherish every moment.
The family’s friends, neighbors and loved ones have been trying to pitch in. They’ve already raised more than $3,000 through a GoFundMe page.
If you want to donate to the Johnson family, visit https://www.gofundme.com/3et8qa78
The Centennial Fire Department believes the fire started when homeowner Dean Johnson attempted to light a cigarette. His oxygen supply ignited, leading to his injuries. The fire department explained that oxygen is highly flammable and that extreme caution needs to be taken by patients using oxygen therapy in their homes.