SANTA ANA : Man Set Afire When Gas Can Explodes

A Santa Ana man suffered severe burns over most of his body early Sunday morning when fumes from an open can of gasoline he was transporting in the back seat of his car exploded while he was lighting a cigarette, police said.

Jose Castaneda, 33, was in critical condition at UCI Medical Center’s burn center in Orange with second- and third-degree burns over 90% of his body, said Santa Ana Police Sgt. James Seleno.

Seleno said Castaneda was driving his car in the 2200 block of South Broadway at 5:55 a.m. with an open five-gallon container of gasoline in the back seat. The windows of the car were rolled up, causing the interior of the car to fill up with volatile gasoline fumes, he said.

As Castaneda struck a match to light a cigarette, the fumes ignited, destroying the car’s interior and setting Castaneda on fire.


Castaneda then lost control of the car, which rammed into a brick wall, Seleno said.

After the car came to a stop, Castaneda jumped out and ran down the street engulfed in flames.

Local residents, hearing the screams, found Castaneda on the street and were able to douse the flames, Seleno said.

Seleno said he did not know why Castaneda was carrying the open can of gasoline in the car.