A homeless man sleeping on the beach in Ventura was doused with lighter fluid and set on fire this weekend, then saved by a passerby who noticed the flames, police said.
The attack left John Frazier, 58, hospitalized with second- and third-degree burns to his face and upper torso, Ventura police Cmdr. Tom Higgins told the Los Angeles Times.
About 11 p.m. Saturday, police received a call from a man saying he'd just used sand to extinguish the fire, Higgins said.
The man, whose identity was not disclosed, told police he found Frazier near the terminus of Seaward Avenue and that the man's entire upper torso was on fire, Higgins said.
The flames were 5 to 6 feet high, the man told police.
When the attack began, Frazier was asleep in a sleeping bag with his backpack beside him, police determined.
Frazier told police he had awoken to see three people pouring the lighter fluid on him and his belongings and setting the fire, Higgins said.
He described them as white males in their late teens or early 20s, all of them with shaved heads and wearing dark clothing.
By the time the passerby noticed the flames and went to help, the perpetrators were gone, Higgins said.
Frazier was taken to a local hospital Saturday night and has since been moved to
Anyone with information is asked to call the Ventura Police Department at (805) 339-4309.