MODESTO — A man sustained extensive third-degree burns Wednesday night when investigators believe he put a lighter to a plastic water jug that had been filled with gasoline.
The Stanislaus Regional Fire Investigation Unit says it appears the man was trying to melt the plastic at the mouth of the jug in order to create a funnel. His girlfriend said their vehicle had run out of gas and they stopped in the Modesto Target parking lot on Sisk Road to refill it using the water jug.
Instead, when the man lit the container it exploded.
Citizens ran to help the man as the fire overtook the front half of his body and a nearby Lexus, according to fire investigators.
He was flown to UC Davis Medical Center.
A Target employee was able to put out the car fire using an extinguisher.
The Stanislaus Regional Fire Investigation Unit is waiting on surveillance to determine exactly what happened.
The man’s identity has not been reported. Investigators say he was in his 30s.