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Man accidentally burns himself to death in Santa Rosa

PIX Now 11:25

SANTA ROSA -- A man died Saturday morning in Santa Rosa after apparently accidentally setting himself on fire.

Santa Rosa police said they received calls at 12:47 a.m. reporting a fire in the 1200 block of Santa Rosa Ave., in the rear of a business.

The Santa Rosa fire department crew extinguished the blaze which had engulfed an adult male, who was pronounced dead at the scene. Police said surveillance footage from nearby businesses provided a clear picture of what occurred.

The man appeared at the rear of the business to be using a lighter to consume what officials assume was a narcotic. The man then slumped to the ground and appeared to fall asleep. Moments later, his clothes started smoldering, then caught fire. Police say he was unable to extinguish the flames.

Police detectives are working with the Sonoma County coroner's office to identify the victim they believe was a man in his 40s or 50s who was likely homeless. Officials say it's possible the victim had a flammable gel residue (possibly a chafing gel) on his hands and/or clothing that was ignited when he used his lighter.

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