Woman dies after oxygen tank explodes at Kannapolis home

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Credit: WJZY

A 69-year-old woman died and three firefighters were injured in a massive house fire early Wednesday morning in Kannapolis, according to the Kannapolis Fire Department. 

The victim has been identified as Patricia Ann Hyatt, 69, fire officials said. 

The fire broke out around 5:45 a.m. Wednesday, Nov. 21 at a home located at 311 Prince Street. Fire officials tell FOX 46 Charlotte the fire was started due to an 'oxygen tank exploding.' 

A family member said the victim had several oxygen tanks in her bedroom along with kerosene heaters. He told FOX 46 that the house was old and they used kerosene heaters to keep warm.

As firefighters arrived on scene Wednesday morning, the house was engulfed in flames. Eight people were able to escape but unfortunately Hyatt was found dead at the scene, fire officials said. 

Firefighters contained the fire and began their investigation once it was safe to enter the residence. Three firefighters received minor injuries battling the flames. 

A church next-door to the house on Prince Street has opened its doors to help the family. Angie Power, a member of the First Evangelical Methodist Church, said they ran over to help as soon as they got the call.

“My husband got a phone call from our daycare director letting us know the house was on fire. He came by and opened up the church very early. It was like a place for the family to gather and everyone who needed to use the restroom to use the restroom," she said. 

Power said other members of the community and neighborhood have also stepped up to help.

“There was a pastor who came and got sizes of some of the family members and has already gone and brought back clothing. Other families have brought food and snacks by," she explained. 

Power says the Red Cross is helping the family with a couple of nights stay at a nearby hotel, but after that, she says they’ll still need help to start over.

“Like things we don’t think about. They don’t have car keys to move their cars, and all their bank cards and cash. They literally have nothing but the clothes on their backs," she said. 

The church has offered space for the family to celebrate Thanksgiving, but this year, the family will be grieving the loss of one of their own who died in the early morning fire.

“Anything I can do to help; I feel like that’s what I’m supposed to be doing. That’s what the holidays are all about," Power said. 

The Kannapolis Fire Department tells FOX 46 the house had no working smoke detectors.

You can call the Kannapolis Fire Department at 704.920.4260 or send a message on social media and they will install them for free.

The First Evangelical Methodist Church on Prince Street said they're receiving donations on behalf of the Hyatt family. You can drop off a donation by or mail it to 212 Prince Street, Kannapolis, NC 28083. The church is open Sunday starting at 9 a.m. and church daycare is open Monday - Friday 6:30 a.m. to 5 p.m.